Mac is back with a literally lovely release in his 4th LP, The Divine Feminine. Admirably, Mac has dropped his second full-length album in less than a year and it’s clear that the new album is without spillover from the last project. Instead, Mac Miller has proved again that he is capable of reinventing himself and throwing a new look with every release of his -mixtapes and Larry Fisherman releases included. This time though, Mac Miller has ventured onto a plane that finds him combining the entirety of preceding mixtapes and incorporating some of the vibe found on projects released by his contemporaries. However, elements such as Mac’s brillo harmonizing and comedic bars make the project all his.
Almost too coincidental, the release of Mac Millers 808s and Heartbreak comes right on the heels on the confirmation of his new romance with Pop songstress, Ariana Grande. The album begins immediately as a project guided by the coy intonations only projected by a woman’s voice; full of innate beauty, alluring. Soon after, one of Mac’s smile-inducing quips makes way for literally wonderful piano, dreamy as the album cover’s clouds and sacred geometry. Mac has immediately set the cosmic pondering present in his last concept LP, Watching Movies with the Sound Off. The Wonka-esque fluffiness follows into Bilal’s incensing vocals on the intro’s hook strongly resemblant of those we might have found on Mike Jack’s Invincible. Downiness rolls down into songs such as the Kendrick Lamar Featured “God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty”. Leave it to K Dot to add a warped sense of love to the whirling instrumental which is clad with sirens carrying the effect of aural bokeh. Kenny has rubbed off on the ostensibly innocent Malcolm when Mac camps Kendricks alien vocal effect in a message to the album’s muse. “Your divinity has.. turned me into a sinner. And your beauty can make hell have a winter”, Mac recites in a poetic cadence, martian effect added.
The note conveys Mac Miller as an alien to this world of “The Divine Feminine”, created by a benevolent, all powerful woman hailing from “Planet God Damn”; to Mac Miller, God is a woman. For the duration of the 52-minute album, Mac is exalting the woman, confessing all of which has him of her house of holy. On “Planet God Damn”, Njomza personifies this jealous Goddess guiding Mac to salvation sounding like Monica and other R&B mavens of the “Angel of Mine” era. “I just need your presence… Wanna feel you feel me”, she croons. On the ironically-titled and Dam-Funk produced “Soulmate”, Mac again plays subordinate to the divine singing “I think you’re too divine for my human mind. When I’m with you, what do you do? Bring me to life”. The Neo-Funk impresario twiddles with celestial synths that transition into Ceelo bringing forth an Outkast-like song in “We”. The Divine Feminine could also be seen as his “Love Below” with the album’s themes waking the feelings evoked on “Prototype” with Mac Miller serenading his Spottottiedopealicious angel.
In as romantic of a tone that Mac muster, though, Frick Park’s finest finds himself consuming this deity to whom he owes so much of his well-being. It’s as raw as we’ve ever seen the rapper who entered the mainstream when he was just 16 years old. Uninhibited in his sexual appetite, “Skin” recapping his goto moves (“I lick my fingertips and get your clitoris in the mix”); Mac may never be as close to spirituality than at this moment. Again on “Cinderella”, Ty Dolla Sign takes the lead in seducing the divine who can engage in the raunch as well as he. “You started getting crazy, told me fuck you like a whore. I thought you was an angel, now you yellin’ to the Lord” he raps, still employing his lovestruck jihad.
But while exploring the unknown and omnipotent, Mac explores landscapes already discovered sonically by some of the game’s most soulful players. Arguably the best song on the album features Anderson.Paak and while Mac was channel the rugged, jazzy sounds of Anderson, the song could have done without the main artist. Mac spends the duration of the song sounding like a Paak mimeograph, regardless of him doing it well. For “Stay”, Mac could have very well be laying down a reference track for Chance over The Social Experiment production. His cadence and layered vocals are very similar. On other tracks, Miller sounds as if auditioning for the next TDE roster spot with sounds that could have very well be on SZA’s next project or the next Isaiah Rashad release. Indubitably though, Mac’s relationship with Schoolboy Q, Vince Staples and The Internet have led Mac Miller to being consumed by his own introspection as much as by the prevalent sound of the West Coast and other soulful Rap artists.