Mac Miller Wants You to Know He’s OK

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Mac Miller Wants You to Know He’s OK

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Mac Miller Wants You to Know He’s OK

After a tumultuous year in tabloid headlines, the rapper dropped off the map to make ‘Swimming,’ his most ambitious album to date

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Mac Miller Wants You to Know He’s OK

Clarke Tolton for RollingStone.com

Mac Miller is walking through Manhattan when two twenty-something fans stop him on the sidewalk. “Easy Mac with the cheesy raps!” one says to him with a goofy smile, reciting an early catchphrase that the rapper can no longer stand. “I hate that I ever said that,” he says, shaking his head as they walk away.

It’s a rare public outing for Miller, 26, who dropped off the grid for a few months earlier this year, tired of being bombarded by paparazzi and seeing his face splashed across the tabloids. He’s been so secluded, he says, that he has almost no idea what’s hot on the charts. “I literally just heard ‘Despacito’ for the first time a few weeks ago,” he admits with a laugh, reclining into a plush sofa in the lobby of New York’s Bowery Hotel. “That’s why the airport fucked me up,” he says of the grating trek he took through LAX to get here. “There were just so many people there. It was a bit uncomfortable.”

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Miller is a natural-born conversationalist, a people person, so it’s a little jarring to hear him say this. But it’s been anything but a typical year for Miller. This past May, Miller and his pop star girlfriend of roughly two years, Ariana Grande, officially announced they’d broken up, citing busy schedules. A few days later, the rapper was arrested on D.U.I. and hit-and-run charges after he allegedly crashed his Mercedes SUV into a power pole near his L.A. home and fled the scene. When police arrived at his home, the rapper — whose blood-alcohol level was reportedly 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit — confessed. If that wasn’t bad enough, when a Twitter user implied Grande was to blame for Miller’s troubles, she offered up a pointed response: Her and Miller’s relationship was “toxic,” she wrote. “I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be. I have cared for and tried to support his sobriety & prayed for his balance for years.”

Mac Miller Wants You to Know He’s OK

It’s painful stuff, and Miller now says he hasn’t talked to Grande since they broke up, nor has he followed her engagement to the actor Pete Davidson only six weeks after breaking up with him. Still, the rapper says he harbors no ill will towards his ex.

“I’ve cared about her for a long time as a person,” he says the next day over a late-afternoon salad at a restaurant on the Lower East Side. He and Grande had known each other for years before dating. And her engagement? “I am genuinely happy that that’s how she moved. That’s good for her. Go, go, keep going! As she should. I’m just being real. That’s good. Now I have space for me. And that’s great too.”

Photo: Clarke Tolton for RollingStone.com

After the breakup, Miller says he wasn’t particularly concerned with whether anyone outside his family and close friends knew how he was doing. “Because at the end of the day, I was serving myself most by just chilling and enjoying my shift in life,” he says. “I was getting my bearings, figuring out how to move. So I didn’t feel like I owed anyone an answer. No one’s entitled to anything. Would I rather that no one said anything and life just moved on normally? Of course. But you know what? I’m OK with that. I really am. I know what actually happened in reality, and that’s enough for me.”

Miller has admitted to using promethazine and cocaine in the years following the release of his chart-topping 2012 debut album, Blue Slide Park. But he says that’s all in his past — even if people believe otherwise. “If a bunch of people think I am a huge drug addict, OK. Cool. What can I really do? Go talk to all those people and be like ‘Naw man, it’s really not that simple?'” he says. “Have I done drugs? Yeah. But am I a drug addict? No.”

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