Malcolm McCormick, better known as Mac Miller, blew up overnight in 2008 with hits such as “Donald Trump,” “Knock Knock” and “Loud.” With his latest release, however, Mac Miller has never been further away from the rest of his expansive discography. In a seemingly unprecedented move when it comes to hip-hop, Mac Miller has put out an entire album about love called “The Divine Feminine.”
Featuring 10 tracks in total and clocking in at just over 50 minutes, Mac Miller seems to be trying to make a statement with this new release. With each project he has released since 2010, the rapper has done his best to alter his sound. The same can be said for his newest venture into and about love — and all the hardships that come with it.
In what can only be described as a mix of rhythm and blues, gospel and rap styles, Mac Miller uses complex lyrics to get a message across to the listener. From the first song, the theme of this album is made clear and evident: Love is a very complicated but beautiful emotion, and Mac Miller takes us on a journey through those complications, while opening our eyes to the beauty of them.
One line that truly emphasizes love’s complications is found on “My Favorite Part.” He sings, “Before things come together, they have to fall apart.” Not only does this line detail an experience many people will feel at least once in life, it also shows off a side of Miller that we don’t often see.
Even fame and fortune can’t help the rapper find love more easily than others. He has to go through the same struggles the listener does. On “Skin,” he is arguably at his most vulnerable. He paints a picture of himself as a soldier coming home from war and compares it to a significant other taking him back after a fight they had.
With this new album, Mac Miller is making music about topics rap has rarely delves into. One theory for why this sudden change of theme came about is his newly announced relationship with Ariana Grande. The couple has collaborated three times before, most recently on the remix to “Into You” in 2016. The news that the two were dating was finally confirmed by Grande in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres right before “The Divine Feminine” was released.
Taking a backseat on the production for this project, Mac Miller creates a sound far away from the rest of his music, but at the same time, he has never sounded more at home on tracks like “Skin,” with a beat composed of hi-hats, bass, synth and rich trumpets. Despite the fresh sound, he sticks to his roots with big-name rap features like Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak and Ty Dolla $ign.
The standout track on this album, which was also released as the first promotional single, is “Dang!” featuring Anderson .Paak. It is the first collaboration between the two, but the chemistry between the artists is evident in the song. In the accompanying video, the two show off their sensitive and humble sides. Mac Miller raps about wanting his significant other to stay and all the things he wants to do for her. Anderson .Paak sings the hook, “I can’t keep on losing you over complications / Gone too soon.” The song offers an interesting change of pace for both artists.
“The Divine Feminine” is without a doubt Mac Miller’s most cohesive and experimental project yet. The listener is taken on a journey through life’s most beautiful and devastating emotion and, thanks to Mac Miller, love has never sounded so good.