Mac Miller Claims Critics Got Him Addicted

By McCarton Ackerman 01/31/13

The rapper says he turned to promethazine to cope with harsh reviews of his debut album.

Miller quit in time for his reality TV debut. via

Some performers don't care what the critics think, but rapper Mac Miller claims negative reviews of his debut album were a contributing factor to his addiction to promethazine—also known as "lean," a prescription drug used to control pain before or after surgery. His 2011 release, Blue Slide Park, was the first independently distributed debut to take the No. 1 spot on the Billboard albums chart in over 15 years, but despite netting him $6.5 million in 2012, he felt critics were needlessly harsh. "A lot of the reviews were more on me as a person. To me, that was even worse," he says. "You're 19, you're so excited to put out your first album...and no one has any respect for you or what you did." To manage those emotions and a grueling touring schedule, he turned to the drug as a coping mechanism. “I was not happy and I was on lean very heavy. I was so fucked up all the time. It was bad," he recalls. "My friends couldn't even look at me the same. I was lost.” His inner circle urged him to quit as his addiction grew worse. After a few unsuccessful attempts to go cold turkey, he finally managed to quit last November—in time to film his upcoming MTV2 reality show, Mac Miller and the Most Dope Family. It seems Miller is now entirely sober; he recently spoke fondly about his love for pot, claiming his first hit was in fifth grade and that once upon a time he was a "horrible drug dealer." He also spent a night in jail in February 2011 for possession of marijuana while touring in upstate New York.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.