If you haven’t heard this album you’re missing out. I’m goning to start with that sentence instead of an introduction because I am that excited about this album. Anyway, let me start again.
Mac Miller is a Pittsburgh rapper who first blew up as a teenager with his K.I.D.S mixtape back in 2010. Since then Mac Miller’s sound has matured with him as he first found fame as a teenager. As Mac dealt with his new found fame, he experienced many different vices and this reflects on his music as it develops from party fun raps on mixtapes like K.I.D.S and BDE to introspective and psychedelic experimental hip hop on Macadellic and Watching Movies With The Sound Off. His previous album GO:OD AM sees a real maturity in Mac’s sound but this project really surprised me. The Divine Feminine really proves Mac’s ability as an all-around musician with him bringing a phenomenal piece of work to the table.
With sex and love being huge themes of the album, it almost sounds like a soul album rather than a hip-hop album. It has smooth chord progressions, a lot of live instrumentation and some of the best singing vocals I’ve heard from Mac Miller. The album begins with a chorus of female vocals and a female voice talking in a way that reminded me of Mac’s work on Macadellic. The track then gets started, consisting mostly of piano and a chilled vocal performance from Most Dope, followed by a string arrangement. Mac Miller then starts to rap about a past relationship in which their different lifestyles prevented them from taking the next step; he talks about how he had already bought a ring and was ready to propose to the girl in question. The track ends with a phenomenal feature from Neo-Soul legend Bilal.
The opening track ‘Congratulations’ is followed by the single ‘Dang’ which sees Anderson Paak kill another feature. Much like ‘Dapper’ from Domo Genesis’ album, this track just puts you in a good mood from the first chord to the last open hi-hat. Mac Miller brings energy to the track with his upbeat verses involving quirky and questionable lines like “I just eat pussy other people need food”. Mac recently suggested a VICE documentary on his new-found diet – I’m sure they’d be up for making that happen.
‘Stay’ is the third track on the album and possibly my favourite. The track sees Mac singing his first chorus and while he’s no D’Angelo, his passion helps to carry the vocals. With a very catchy hook I guarantee you’ll be singing along to this one. Where this track gets most of its soul from is its use of brass reminiscent, of an ESTA or Social Experiment track.
This album may be the most consistently awesome album I’ve heard this year bar Wretch 32’s Growing Over Life. From track to track Mac does not disappoint and every feature pulls their weight. This album introduced me to Njomza who has now gained a fan through her excellent work on the track ‘Planet God Damn’, reminding me of the Aaliyah era of RnB.
The groove on ‘My Favourite Part’ is phenomenal yet simple. Mac Miller and Ariana Grande make good use of their chemistry to make a RnB duet song perfect for those sunny days. It’s just a shame he released the album in September. The song sounds more like a 90s classic than a cut of a 2016 album and is another standout track for me.
The closing track on this album has the most interesting title, ‘God is Fair, Sexy Nasty’ and features Kendrick Lamar’s signature phasey vocals on a trippy chorus. While I thought I would’ve preferred a verse from Kendrick, I’m not even mad at Kendrick singing on the track instead.
A special mention has to go to the producers that worked on this album, Grant, Pomo, Frank Dukes, I.D. Labs, JMSN, Garcia Bros, DJ Dahi, Vinylz, DaM-FunK, MisterNeek, E. Dan, MusicManTy and Tae Beast. Every single instrumental on this album is perfect, allowing Mac Miller to deliver another quality album.
While I like Mac Miller’s old days of rapping about partying on tracks such as ‘Donald Trump’, this is definitely a direction I’d like to see him explore in the future as this is by far, in my opinion, his best piece of work to date.
Image courtesy of Mac Miller via Facebook