Mac Miller was a creative enigma, one who approached hip-hop in a way that made him stand out from the crowd and become a teenage rap prodigy. While many artists to have emerged at a young age often end up as a flash in the pan, Miller proved himself to be one of the finest wordsmiths of his generation. Tragically, his life was sadly cut short in 2018 before his time, just like his hero John Lennon.
Miller’s style may have fallen under the umbrella of hip-hop, but the array of different influences that he incorporated into his music helped establish him as a formidable force. Even on his earliest mixtapes, Miller showed that he wasn’t your average rapper when he sampled The Beatles track ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, which he brought alive in the hip-hop sphere. Samples like that shouldn’t work on paper, but Miller found a way to make it fit seamlessly.
Sampling The Beatles isn’t the only ode that Milled did to The Fab Four. On his forearm, the musician had a tattoo of his favourite Beatle, the late John Lennon. There’s no more extraordinary way than showing your appreciation for somebody than getting their face inked onto you for eternity. Miller could have perhaps gone for a favourite lyric – or at least something a little more subtle. Instead, he opted for a portrait of his hero that covered his forearm.
Explaining the reasoning behind the precious ink, Miller said in an interview back in 2012: “I just love Lennon man, I’m a huge John Lennon fan, he’s like the background to my phone and some weird stuff. I’ve just been a John Lennon fan for a long, long, long time, man.”
Adding: “I just think that he did more than just make music. You know, he made music, and he was incredibly creative and all of that, but he was getting people trying to kick him out of the United States, man. You know you’re doing something when the President knows about you.”
Speaking to Complex about his favourite records in 2013, Miller named The Beatles’ psychedelic-filled extravaganza, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The rapper brought up his tattoo while discussing his love of The Beatles before speaking in more detail about why he identifies them in a way that transcends music. “I love what they represent,” he divulged. “I love all the shit when they started getting really weird. I kind of identify with them, not with like in massiveness, but like in their journey.”
He continued: “I’m a huge Beatles fan, from when I was a little kid. [Asking how you got into the Beatles is] like asking, ‘How did you get into Jesus?’ [Laughs.] I’m just saying, it just exists. How did you get into sandwiches? I found [out about them myself], I was very independent. I taught myself how to tie my shoe and how to write. I was reading by four. [Laughs.] I was a prodigy.”
It shows the power of The Beatles that talents such as Mac Miller, born in 1992, still found inspiration in the group despite operating in a genre that didn’t even exist when The Fab Four ruled the roost. From a sonic standpoint, there was little to align the two on the surface. Miller tried to adopt the cavalier attitude and artistic spirit of John Lennon with similar pioneering instincts.