Mac Miller’s family recently announced plans to release a double-disc vinyl box set, ‘Swimming in Circles’, of the rapper’s final two studio albums on Dec. 18.
The deluxe box set, which will compile songs from ‘Swimming’ and ‘Circles’, will also include a booklet featuring production images, a poster and a six-panel lyric scroll. Warner Records will release the box set under its record labor, and it is now available to pre-order.
Miller’s two albums were originally made as companion pieces. ‘Swimming’ released on Aug. 3, 2018, almost a month prior to Miller’s death, and the posthumous album ‘Circles’ released on Jan. 17, 2020. Both albums reflect on Miller’s struggle with mental health and drug abuse, as well as reflect on his life in general.
An American rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer, Mac Miller was born Malcolm McCormick in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Jan. 19, 1992. His career began in 2007, when he was only 15. In 2010, he signed a record deal with the Pittsburgh-based independent label Rostrum Records. It was through this label that he released his first mixtape, ‘K.I.D.S.’, in 2010, and a follow-up, ‘Best Day Ever’, in 2011.
Miller’s debut studio album, ‘Blue Slide Park’, released on Nov. 8, 2011, and became the first independently distributed album to hit number one in 16 years. Miller’s newfound fame led him to create the record label REMember Music in 2013, which allowed him to serve as a producer for various artists under the pseudonym Larry Fisherman.
In 2014, Miller left Rostrum to sign with Warner Bros. Records. Through Warner Records, Miller released his four studio albums: ‘GO:OD AM’ (2015), ‘The Divine Feminine’ (2016), ‘Swimming’ (2018) and ‘Circles’ (2020). However, in the middle of this growth, Miller died of an accidental drug overdose on Sept. 7, 2018.
After Miller’s death, ‘Swimming’ was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. ‘Circles’, Miller’s sixth and final album, debuted at number three on the Billboard Top 200 and became his sixth Top 10 album.
“‘Swimming’ hinted at an artist who’d finally cleared his mind and found his footing,” Pitchfork contributor Sheldon Pearce said in a review of Miller’s last two albums. “‘Circles’ provides some resolution and helps finish Miller’s final thoughts. Miller seemed to envision ‘Circles’ as the completion of a loop. […] “Both records are about working through depression, how the bad days are long and the good days feel fleeting, but the tone is more optimistic here [in ‘Circles’].”
The producer of the album ‘Circles’, Jon Brion, explained that the albums were a part of a planned trilogy. Miller partnered with Brion to create early versions of songs from the last two albums, and after Miller’s death, Brion committed to finish ‘Circles.’
In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Brion explained the creative process behind Miller’s posthumous album. Brion reflected on working with Miller for the first time, commenting on Miller’s creative insecurities throughout its creation, describing his work as a “lyrical wonder of honesty”.
“I don’t think there was a grand design,” Brion said. “[Miller] liked the idea of there being a connective tissue.”
After Miller’s tragic death, his family created the Mac Miller Fund in 2018 to help finance art programs for underprivileged youth and provide resources for young artists struggling with addiction. Over the last two years, the fund has raised over one million dollars.
“He cared very much about working to make the world a kinder place[,] and we will continue to do just that,” Miller’s family collectively said in a statement.
Along with the deluxe box set, Miller’s family also released a behind the scenes video of Miller’s recording process for the albums ‘Swimming’ and ‘Circles’ on Monday. The video, shot in Hawaii during 2017, celebrates the final moments and memories of Miller’s life.
“There’s no point in just locking yourself up anymore, bro,” Miller said in the video. “There’s just too much in the world to see. The working title right now is ‘Circles’, but I don’t know. […] It just feels good. Kinda comforting in this weird way.”