Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Controversial Second Mac Miller Biography Released

Whose story are we going to listen to when a star dies?

Artist Mac Miller was an undeniably talented musician and performer –seriously, try to watch Miller’s NPR Tiny Desk appearance and come away unimpressed. Miller, tragically, was also unable to conquer the demons that hounded him, dying from an accidental overdose of cocaine, fentanyl, and alcohol at 26-years-old in 2018.

Related Videos
Mac Miller: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Fans celebrated Miller’s posthumous 30th birthday this past January 19. The date also happened to fall the day after the release of Most Dope: The Extraordinary Life of Mac Miller by Paul Cantor. It’d be difficult to tell from the title, but the Abrams Press biography was met with vitriol by Miller’s family. The family released a long statement in May 2021 excoriating Cantor’s accounting and expressing support instead for the October-released The Book of Mac: Remembering Mac Miller, authored by Donna-Claire Chesman.

Which tale is telling the truth? And which account are readers supposed to believe? Really, it depends on your perspective and how you want to remember a human being.

Following Mac Miller’s heartbreaking passing, Chesman dedicated the following months to chronicling the hip-hop artist’s work through a personal lens, describing Miller through the eyes of his fans, friends, and fellow musicians. This portrait leans towards a personal essay, showing what the man meant through the singular relationship to his sound and words.

Cantor’s biography is no less accurate but much more complex. The respected music journalist, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and more, spent several years researching Miller’s life — from his roots in Pittsburgh to his time in Los Angeles and New York City. You can see why Miller’s family may not have approved from the Amazon book description alone.

“But despite his undeniable success, Miller was plagued by struggles with substance abuse and depression, both of which fueled his raw and genre-defying music yet ultimately led to his demise.”

Mac Miller giving a thumbs up.
Mac Miller (right) during an interview on the Toronto-based ‘The Come Up Show.’ Andrew Stephenson/Flickr

Related Guides

Though the family asserted that Cantor “chose to proceed against our polite insistence that he does not do a disservice to Malcolm’s legacy through writing a book without legitimate primary sources,” the Amazon description cites “detailed reporting and interviews with dozens of Miller’s confidants.”

Cantor, for his part, offered his understanding to Miller’s family. In a statement on Page Six, Cantor said, “My heart goes out to his family. Nothing that I can say here can heal the pain of losing their son. I carried that with me in every sentence I wrote.”

This isn’t the first instance that the late rapper’s family has objected to a project. The Fader reported that director CJ Wallis ceased production of “the definitive” Mac Miller documentary in 2019 at the Miller family and manager Christian Clancy’s insistence. And this definitely isn’t the only objected-to musician biography. John Lennon, Lou Reed, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, and Jimi Hendrix are just a few of the posthumous accounts to be subject to scorn.

The beauty of both books is that they each contain truthful, verified assertions that supply equally valid and popular divergent points of view.  The Book of Mac sits at number seven on Amazon’s “Best Sellers in Rap & Hip-Hop Musician Biographies” and Most Dope has settled in at number 11, affirming the continued interest and impact of Miller’s work in a life that ended too soon.

Read More: Kanye’s Early Days Come Out in Full Fury in a First Look at Netflix’s ‘Jeen-Yuhs’

Editors' Recommendations

“Hip Hop Raised Me” Defines the Ebbs and Flows of the Genre
Hip Hop Raised Me

From its inception, hip-hop has struggled to define itself under the weight of its own significance.

Although some of the messaging and values remains the same, the music and culture that started in the 1970s looks much different from today’s multi-billion dollar cross-section of art, politics and excess.

Read more
The 24 best Amazon Prime series to binge this week
The definitive list of great shows to stream on Amazon Prime
The Boys.

Even if you've picked a streaming service, it can be impossible to narrow down what you're really looking for. If you've run out of the best Netflix movies and original series to watch, you'll need to find somewhere else to turn.

Fortunately, Netflix is far from the only game in town. Anyone who uses Amazon Prime to get packages delivered to them quickly also has access to a library of fairly impressive shows and movies. If you're looking for your next series to binge, and you already have Amazon anyway, then this is the right place to start. We've broken down the best shows to start with below, with entries that range from sprawling sci-fi to touching, grounded comedies.

Read more
The 10 best TV villains of the 21st century
Who are the best TV villains since the turn of the century?
best tv villains homelander

Rooting for a characters with a clear moral compass throughout a TV show is always a feel-good experience, and contemplating our own code of ethics while following antiheroes is equally satisfying. Still, an intricate plot can never truly advance in our favorite stories without a ruthless, clearly evil antagonist. The best TV villains are fleshed out with a backstory such that the audience can understand the villain's motivations, yet we still find them despicable to root for — and that we sometimes end up rooting for anyway. The villain will help guide the viewer through the episodes, pushing us to the edge of our seats until we simply can't wait any longer for their plans to be thwarted by the good guy or another oppositional force.

Some TV villains are murderous, while others are simply so unethical as to make our skin crawl. Villains can be abusive, both mentally and physically, and they can be compelling because they make us wonder what could possibly go so wrong as to cause someone to be so sick and twisted. TV wouldn't be the same without them, and they've helped to create the golden age of TV that took off in the early 21st century. These are the best TV villains since the year 2000 — and in some cases, even the best villains of all time.
10. Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) — Ozark
Ozark: Darlene Snell Kills Kansas City Mob Boss Frank Cosgrove | Season 4A Ep. 6 "Sangre Sobre Todo"

Read more