Weekly updates:


Interview: Mac Miller on embracing life, love, and The Divine Feminine

His new album is yet another manifestaton of the MC's creative and personal growth

Words by

Mac Miller’s career has taken some surprising trajectories. But his latest collection of songs takes the cake. Earlier in July, Mac announced his fourth album The Divine Feminine, less than a year after releasing his acclaimed third album, GO:OD AM. The first single was ‘Dang!’ a soulful, funk-influenced number featuring an insatiable hook by Anderson .Paak. Since then Mac has dropped some stellar singles in ‘My Favourite Part’ and ‘We’, the latter featuring CeeLo Green. But these are just three singles from an album chock-full of exciting features, including Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, and Ty Dolla $ign.

Listening to The Divine Feminine it’s clear that Mac has come into his own. He’s no longer the brattish kid from Philly once unfairly touted as a ‘frat rapper’. Mac clearly had his sights set on a different sound and on becoming a completely different artist. While the soul and lovesick emotion of his latest music pushes through the realms of hip-hop, the music here remains faithful to both the past and the future. He respects his humble bedroom rap beginnings but uses influences from different musical genres to produce music that’s loaded with depth and emotion. Put simply, this is Mac’s answer to Take Care or 808s & Heartbreak.

With The Divine Feminine freshly released today, we had a chat with the man of the hour to discuss his never-ending workload, his favourite collaborations, how he handles the stresses of touring, and what’s next for the young Philadelphia MC.

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/acclaim/public/wp-content/themes/acclaim/includes/posts/templates/feature.php on line 58

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/acclaim/public/wp-content/themes/acclaim/includes/posts/templates/feature.php on line 58

Photo: Brick Stowell

Hey Mac. First of all, loving the new record. But you just released a new album last year. What inspired you to record another full-length so soon?

I just had a vision and a concept. I’m always in the studio and a lot of times in between albums I’m creating for a while before I start to figure out what I want to do. This time I had the concept figured out really early so I just started running with it.

From listening to this album it sounds like you were aiming for a more soulful aesthetic. Were you aiming to push your sound with this new album?

I have to push my sound on every release. I’m always trying to continue testing the waters and see what I can do and what else I’m capable of. Every record is the opportunity to try new things. My sound has been growing with me. The old stuff can be nostalgic [but] it’s still great to listen to.

I know you’re a multi-instrumentalist, did you record any of the instrumentals on your new album?

No, I didn’t actually play anything because I can now call on some people who play a lot better than me. It was more about just putting people together.

The lead single ‘Dang!’ features Anderson .Paak, and the closer ‘God is Fair, Sexy, Nasty’ features Kendrick Lamar, both who’ve been on a huge roll lately. What made you want to work with them?

I like Anderson .Paak’s music, he’s a very creative mind. I also love how he approaches writing. I just appreciate that he can come in, work and come up with something good. [Whereas] Kendrick and I first worked together in 2012. This time was just so much different ‘cause we have a much longer history and we were in the studio together and he also got to hear other stuff that I was working on. It made for a much more interesting collaboration.

Describe to me the writing process of the album. Did you bang these out within a couple of weeks or did they slowly progress over time?

Everything happens over time, I guess. But what I did do on this record was pick the songs and then continue working on them until they were all the way there. It all happens as I make it, you know? Sometimes a song will be in my head before, but really it all depends on the song.

Was there anything non-music related which inspired you to make this record?

Life in general. I wanted to get into these emotions because I’ve been feeling like I hadn’t been touching on it. It’s a maturing of my sound. I would hope that every record is like that because every year I’m maturing and I would hope my music can reflect who I am as a human being.

You’ve just wrapped up a tour in support of your last album, but now you’ve just announced dates in support of The Divine Feminine, do you have any international shows planned?

Yeah, they’ll all be next year. I love travelling overseas, so I’ll definitely be back out there next year. I haven’t toured since my last album but I have been doing some shows. These days I just try and live a much healthier lifestyle all-round. It helps having actual days on the road rather than just sitting on the bus all day. I’m kind of embracing a bit more of life now.

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/acclaim/public/wp-content/themes/acclaim/includes/posts/templates/feature.php on line 58

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/acclaim/public/wp-content/themes/acclaim/includes/posts/templates/feature.php on line 58

You’ve been rapping since you were a teenager in Philadelphia, do any of the up-and-coming rappers remind you of yourself at that age?

I don’t know, man. I’d have to meet them, ‘cause you never know about someone until you actually meet them. It’s interesting to still be here making music and to realise that I’ve been around for a little bit of time now. But for sure, it’s incredible that some of these kids would look up to me.

Have you noticed any change in hip-hop since you started releasing mixtapes when you were 15?

As music in general progresses, you also see how many different forms hip-hop can take, which is a beautiful thing. There’s a place for everything, and if anything, I’ve seen a whole bunch of different worlds flourish within hip-hop. Of course there’s more to hip-hop than samples and bars. But that’s always been there, so you have to appreciate the evolution and respect the foundation.

Looking to the future, do you have any collaborations planned? Maybe another Vince Staples and Larry Fisherman mixtape, or more collabs with Earl Sweatshirt?

Hey man, I’m always down! I’m looking to produce some more records and we’ll see who with. There’s definitely some cool stuff coming. It’s great to see them [Vince Staples and Earl Sweatshirt] out here just doing what they do. Vince is on top of the world right now and I love it. He knows what he’s doing. It’s an amazing thing to see and I’m just really happy for that guy.

What’s your plan of action if Trump wins the election?


Mac’s new record The Divine Feminine is out now via Warner Bros.

Weekly updates