Label: REMember, Warner Bros.
Released: Sept. 16
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
The Love Below.
The list of hip-hop love albums is remarkably short. This year, Mac Miller’s The Divine Feminine joined those ranks, a worthy addition for its sincerity and sonic ambitions. When Mac’s enthusiastic conflation of love with pussy-praising begins to feel rudimentary, the complicated arrangements and excellent guest vocalists (Anderson .Paak, Ty Dolla Sign, Njomza, and Kendrick Lamar make especially vital contributions) keep the album surprising. “Dang,” “Planet God Damn,” and “Cinderella” fly high while painting a more nuanced portrait of romantic love—one that involves more than just masterful blow jobs. “How the fuck did/We get into a place we ain't accustomed to lovin' inside of?,” Mac raps on “Planet God Damn.”
Many of the songs pay lip service to honesty and communication as the backbone of a strong relationship, but the lines that Mac appears to enjoy most involve stuff like “Your pussy a ride better than Six Flags.” The album’s title, with its stereotypical hetero male overcompensating, is the first clue that Mac is no James Salter (or even Scott Spencer), so the basic sex talk shouldn’t come as a shock. But he deserves recognition for embracing so completely the fresh feelings of love in his life (hi, Ariana). He’ll keep growing up, and his heart is in the right place. —Ross Scarano