Ladies and gentleman, I hope you all have been enjoying the weather this summer, because it has been sunny with a chance of music. Artists in every genre took the internet by storm, releasing a multitude of great albums. Yet,some of the best are still to come.
While fans frustratingly waited for “Boys Don’t Cry” every passing day, we can rest easy knowing that the new Mac Miller tape, “Divine Feminine”, will bring the end of the summer music spree to a satisfying climax.
His breakout mixtape “Kids” dropped nearly 6 years ago, but will forever encapsulate the fun, exploratory phase of high-school. Songs like a “Nikes on my Feet” and “Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza” still resonate with the demographic of recently permitted drivers everywhere. Over the years, he has grown into a prolific rapper with an extensive discography. His production grew beyond of the strictly light-hearted beats that characterize his early projects like “Blue Slide Park” into a musically sophisticated spectrum where “Watching Movies with the Sound Off” and “GOOD:AM” reside. He is a real artist that successfully maintains creative control on all his projects.
The night before his Lollapalooza show on Friday, I managed to catch Mac for a smoke break on the terrace of our hotel in Chicago. I asked him how he felt about his growth in the industry, to which he replied,
“I’ve developed into an artist, not just another white rapper. Now, I can be recognized without being boxed in that way.” Mac recognizes that he has left the mold set for white rappers and their cookie cutter hits in the past, and is ready to move forward musically.
But, his best work is to be delivered Sept. 16. Reading this, you may have asked how did I see Mac in a hotel lobby in Chicago? Well, after the news about “Divine Feminine” was announced alongside his new, rhythmic summer single with Anderson Paak “Dang!”, I had no choice. I had to make my way over to Chicago and be apart of the action. The single is too damn good not to be interested.
In “Dang!” Mac embraces a funky bass line, accompanying trumpets and guitar pieces while he simultaneously explores the fragility of relationships. Not to mention his voice is far beyond any of the monotone, single pitch flows that have been dominating the chart. “Dang!” shows how important the collaboration of beat, lyrics, and flow are in creating a complete record.
It wouldn’t be a full trip to Lollapalooza without seeing Mac perform. His tour manager granted me the pleasure of an artists pass for the weekend. Leading up to the show, Mac was calmer than I had ever seen him. I had been to multiple Mac concerts before, but never of this scale. Somehow, he maintained a composure I didn’t recognize. While most of the publicity focused on Malia dancing on stage, it was his best show in years.
He opened the performance with a performance of the song “Loud” from his the Macadelic mixtape of 2012. From the moment the the beat began, an ocean of hands rose from the crowd. See for yourselves.
He brought this kind of energy throughout the entire set. Mac played his classics, including the previously mentioned “Nikes on my Feet”, as well as “100 Grandkids”, and got thunderous responses to both. The set list was fantastic. It was refreshing to see such a massive showing of long-time fans at a rappers show. It seems that the bandwagon fan has become a mainstream phenomenon. Rappers pop on and off of multiple “fans'” top 5 time and time again. However, one could tell that these people were no where in sight at Mac’s show.
The Listening Party
If the single and his performance didn’t make it clear enough already, this album will express a glorious new side to Mac Miller’s artistry. One with a breadth and depth previously unexplored.
Google Play held an exclusive listening party on the roof of an apartment overlooking Lake Michigan and all of Grant Park. But it wasn’t just the view that stole the show, it was the album. Features that ranged from Kendrick Lamar to Robert Glasper, the range of talent and quality of music was through the roof. It held a lot of references to his experiences with woman, but with a different outlook than what you would expect. His attitude has seemed to have taken a complete 180 from his Macadelic hit “Lucky Ass Bitch” to say the least.
I managed to ask Mac why he named the album “Divine Feminine”. He prepped his answer by first mentioning the connection of the album name to Mother Earth, and the planets divine femininity. However, he continued by referencing some history.
“Ever since man has become the center of society, their ego has gotten in the way. Man, historically, has tried to destroy, conquer and control as much of the world as they could. Woman are the pillars of society. They are the mothers of creation, nurturing and supporting us throughout our lives.”
Mac is focused on developing his talents, not simply trying to out do other artists in his field. His internal motivation is what drives him now, not the ego that drives most rappers. Furthermore, as he gets older and wiser, his respect for woman seems to be overriding the sex-drive that propels most rappers. That is not to say he is celibate by any means, we shared a fair share of stories, but rather in a different place now, both literally and spiritually.
In any case, “Divine Feminine” and the future of Mac Miller’s career as a whole is looking bright. His music is more sophisticated, and his shows are better than ever.
I don’t think I have ever said this before, but “Divine Feminine” has me excited for the end of summer.