The late rapper Mac Miller’s final and first posthumous album ‘Circles’ do provide some insights into his mental faculties towards the latter days of his life. In “Hand Me Downs,” we hear Mac Miller singing about his issues and his coping mechanisms, along with singer Baro Sura. Let us explore the lyrics and song meaning.
“Hand Me Downs” is the eighth track on Mac Miller’s sixth and final album and his first posthumous album ‘Circles.’ Other songs on the album, such as the title track “Circles,” “Complicated” and “That’s On Me” are reflections on Mac Miller’s life towards the end of the line. Hence, this album will go down in history as the last introspect into the rapper’s head.
In the song, we hear Mac Miller thanking a ‘baby’ for helping him cope with his issues. But the more we dig into his life, the more we realize that this was not a reference to a person, but rather for drugs. The lyrics do hint us that the rapper himself felt that he was arriving at a conjuncture in his life.
Listen to “Hand Me Downs” by Mac Miller
In the first verse of the song, we hear Mac Miller thanking a certain ‘baby’ for being there for him throughout thick and thin. Our immediate guess would be that this a sweet sentiment to his former longterm girlfriend Ariana Grande. But Mac Miller says that he swears that he is here with her, but he knows he is somewhere else. This confession makes us think that Mac Miller’s ‘baby’ could be drugs, and his ‘there’ place is Ariana Grande.
The latter part of the verse reveals that Mac Miller knew he was derailing by this time. He says it is getting harder to “hunt” him down. He is always in “another” place in his head. This is a clear indication that he was drug inhibited most of the time in the latter part of his life.
He knew all this just might “break” him down.
These lyrics about Mac Miller needing somebody to keep his boat afloat are really saddening to hear after his untimely death. In this stanza, the singer reveals that lately he has been feeling strange and he has not got what he was looking for. He was looking for love, affection and companionship. But he failed to receive that.
The rapper confesses that he has had issues with himself and drugs in the past. But someone or something always anchored him without letting him float away. But lately, this anchor has been giving up. In return, he too is.
“Get away” was his advice to himself when it came to living dangerously with drugs. But he failed to swallow his own pill, and the screws of his life gave away.
The chorus of the song is performed by Baro Sura. In these lyrics, the singer narrates a confession to his loved one. He says that she is such a great design, both internally and externally. Hence, he does not mind passing down their genes to an offspring of theirs.
‘Hand me downs’ refer to something that has been handed down to you by somebody. In the context of the song, it refers to creating a baby of their own and hand down their good looks, talents and traits to the baby through genes.
In the second verse of the song, we get more insights into the “darkness” that consumed Mac Miller’s head. He tries to imagine his life as “ain’t doing bad.” But that’s a double negative, which also gives away some hints into his thought catalogue. He says this because he is trying his best not to dwell on the problems that he faces.
The worst part is when he says “the wheels that’s in the back of my mind / Just keep on turning ’til the tires flat and burn until the fire crack.” This does let us know that he had no peace and quiet in the back of his head. He was burning inside.
He also does not deny that when he is stuck between a rock and a hard place, his mental faculties turn into “make-believe” and “full of darkness.” We are not sure if this is even a coping mechanism. This sounds more like giving in than fighting it.
Mac Miller has not had the easiest of lives so far, and he believes it will not change for the better either. He wishes to keep on fighting the fight that he has been waging for all his life. But at this point of life, it was not meant to be.
Let us hear what you think about “Hand Me Downs” by Mac Miller and what you think these lyrics mean in the comments below.