According to Mac Miller’s estate, the late rapper’s posthumous album, Circles, was recorded to be a companion album with Swimming, the final project he released before his death in September 2018.

Adding more context, songwriter-composer Jon Brion, who produced most of the tracks on Circles, says the album was actually part of a trilogy. “He (Mac) had this whole aquatic theme that came out of something we’d talked about when he was working on Swimming,” he told the New York Times in an interview published on Monday (Jan. 20). “I’d noticed he mentioned water a few times in the lyrics, and then that grew into all these discussions about water and what it sounds like that became kind of a running joke.”

Brion then explained how the three albums would roll out. “There were supposed to be three albums: the first, Swimming, was sort of the hybridization of going between hip-hop and song form,” Brion stated. “The second, which he’d already decided would be called Circles, would be song-based. And I believe the third one would have been just a pure hip-hop record. I think he wanted to tell people, ‘I still love this, I still do this.’”

Since its release, Circles has garnered rave reviews from fans and critics alike. In a statement prior, the estate said they felt it was important to release the album the way he intended his fans to hear it.

"This is a complicated process that has no right answer. No clear path. We simply know that it was important to Malcolm for the world to hear it," reads one part of a statement via Miller's Instagram account. "Thank you to all the fans who’ve supported him unconditionally through the years. We miss him. We are left to imagine where Malcolm was going and to appreciate where he was. We hope you take this time to listen. The look on his face when everyone was listening said it all. With humility and gratitude. Malcolm’s family."

Circles, which is available on all digital streaming platforms, features 12 songs including the first single, "Good News."

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