Thursday (Sept. 7) marked the fifth anniversary of Mac Miller‘s unfortunate passing, which sparked countless stories and tributes from peers and loved ones. VIBE spoke to Thundercat, one of the Pittsburgh emcee’s closest collaborators, about their relationship during better times.

“Mac changed my life, man, and he was one of my best friends. And the funny thing is, sometimes we throw the term ‘best friends’ around and stuff like that, but every day, I think about him,” the veteran bassist and producer said. “And I always remember how he affected my life in the major way. And I just know he’s always there with me, and I keep that in my heart.”

The It Is What It Is talent also gave his perspective on Mac Miller’s legacy today. “I mean, the Mac that I knew, and the way he had room for everybody and the way he made room, I think the world is making room for Mac now,” Thundercat explained. “And it’s beautiful to watch. To me, he was always genius, like I could see it (laughs). He was too cool. Got the baddest girl on the planet, but it was smooth. From that to creatively [being] a powerhouse. That, and all the above and taking it all in stride. He was too cool, man. I would say he was a one-man Rat Pack, you know. And yeah, it is bittersweet, but it’s an overall joy to know that he left his mark.”

Over the past decade, Mac Miller and Thundercat crafted classic cuts for both of their respective catalogs, including “In The Morning” (which also featured The Internet’s Syd), “Hi,” “Inside Outside,” “55,” and “What’s The Use?” Unreleased notables like “It Gets Better,” “The Sun Room (Somewhere In Space),” and “She Knows Too Much” found their way to the surface via past leaks, becoming fan favorites in the process.