By: Mark Ramzy
The Divine Feminine, Mac’s 4th album, is another heavily overlooked 2016 album. Consisting of just 10 tracks, it is the most concise and thematically consistent in his discography.
The title of the album, The Divine Feminine, refers to two things. The first, and the most easily broken down, is a Godly female figure. The second is the idea of the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine itself. The idea that each human has femininity and masculinity within them. It refers to a sense of spirituality and energy that we all possess. Both ideas are tied hand in hand, as the Divine Feminine comes from the female Godly figure.
But what is the album really about? As Mac himself said, “The Divine Feminine to me, is the universe. Treating the world how you’re supposed to treat a female is awesome. It’s a deeper experience with life.” Simply put, The Divine Feminine is Mac’s expression of love to a woman and to the universe. It is Mac breaking down the barriers between love to a woman and to the universe. It is Mac breaking down the barriers between love, spirituality, and sex.
The album starts off with the simple, soothing piano-led Congratulations, in which Mac begins the comparison of his woman to a divine figure. The track beautifully sets up the mood for the rest of the album, and transitions perfectly to the more upbeat Dang!, featuring Anderson .Paak. While .Paak’s chorus is about losing people close to him, Mac turns the song into a plea for his love to return to him. The song highlights the struggles couples face in the early stages of a relationship, where desire and insecurities are stronger than the foundation they have.
On Stay, we see beautiful instrumentation, a common trend on this album, this time with horns. The instrumentation combines with the chorus of “will you stay, just a little while?” making the song extremely enchanting to the audience.
The next track Skin features heavy jazz production. It is smooth and arousing, as Mac describes his sexual acts with the woman he loves. However, despite it being very graphic, the focus remains clearly set on Mac’s desire to express his love for the divine woman, rather than shifting to lust.
On Cinderella, the first of two 8 minutes tracks on the album, Mac brings on Ty Dolla $ign, as he tells the story of his love to his ex-girlfriend, Ariana Grande. Mac describes his love for her in detail, calling her his dream girl and explaining how intoxicating her love is for him. The track is titled ‘Cinderella’ as Mac attributes the princess’s characteristics to Ariana, and because his luck in ending up with her is like a fairy-tale.
The track Soulmate is one that Mac has said is very special to him , starts with a sample from the movie Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams talks to Matt Damon about having a soulmate. Mac follows that up with one of his most profound and honest verses:
"Yeah, are you my soulmate? My angel, what do you want with me? Too high (Too high), slow pace (Slow pace) My eyes closed, your body all I see I think you're too divine for my human mind When I'm with you, what do you do? Bring me to life No matter what, one day everyone dies (Oh, oh, oh, whoa-oh) You think you a God 'til you run out of time (Oh, oh, oh, whoa-oh) Yeah, said, when you're gone (Gone), what will you leave behind? Yeah, do I belong sometime soon? Where goes my mind? (Oh, oh, oh, whoa-oh)"
Mac’s contemplation makes you wonder. He questions his mortality, and wonders if the woman he loves is his true soulmate. By We, we can see that Mac’s maturity has progressed from the beginning of the album. The “ooohs” in the track make it extremely soothing as Mac delivers his emotional verses about love, and also allow the listeners to make the story their own.
On the final track, God is Fair, Sexy, Nasty, Mac and Kendrick Lamar deliver powerful lyrical verses. The line ‘Your divinity has turned me into a sinner‘ alludes to how the woman they love’s perfection and divinity makes them want to do ungodly things, showing irony. The track shows how the desire to love and be loved is stronger than any other human desire. This is a very relatable track, as many people’s devotion to the people they love is stronger than their devotion to anything else.
The track ends with a beautiful anecdote from Mac’s grandmother: the story of how she and her husband fell in love after being neighbours their whole lives. The final words from her to end the album leave a lasting impact and stress what’s truly important in life: “to love, respect, and care for each other,’ perfectly summarizing and concluding the album.