Contrasting Voices in “Small Worlds”

“Small Worlds” in Mac Miller’s album Swimming highlights the contrast between the way we view life and a deeper understanding of existence. Throughout the song, he leads the listener through his internal monologue and inner thoughts, using wordplay to convey his message that life is not always what it seems.

The first line of the song serves as a paradox:

The world is so small 'till it aint 

The verse contradicts itself by starting off first with the outlook that his individual world is small, and then directly stating that throughout life he has realized that this is not always the case. It takes the listener through an emotional journey into his mind and his paradoxical views on life. His words allude that although each person is wrapped up in their individual lives, we are all a part of something bigger and all have something to offer.

He then goes on to say:

Maybe dunk but i've never been tall
I might trip but I never fall

In this verse, Miller uses oxymoron by putting two contrasting ideas together to create a bigger picture idea. When he states “I might trip but i never fall”, he uses wordplay to contrast the idea that although he may struggle internally, he does not let it get the best of him. Using words such as “dunk” but “never been tall” and “trip” but “never fall”, he intentionally uses slang language to provide double meaning to his words.

Finally, he alludes to his use of drugs:

Don't want to grow old so I smoke just in case

This line shows his internal struggle with drugs and his use of them to make time stand still. This line fits into the rest of the piece by stating that although time never stops, he turns to other measures to make it appear as if it does. After struggling with drug abuse for many years, Miller tragically passed due to overdose. His words continue to be powerful after his death and inspire many.

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