As of right now, Anderson .Paak is in close contention with Radiohead for having album of the year. Ever since hearing .Paak a couple of years ago on a very fun Watsky record, it’s been easy to be a fan and casually enjoy some of his work with the Hellfyre Club and Dr. Dre’s “Compton” last year. But it was time for him to step into his own and just be good without having another more popular name attached to him, something that finally happened with “Malibu“. Since then this has been his breakout year appearing on and in everything from the XXL Freshman 2016 list to a beautiful choral appearance on Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book. In the wake of Frank Ocean’s former absence, it’s refreshing to find someone else with a distinct R&B/Hip-Hop/Pop flavor that can touch someone else’s song and turn it to gold. This is exactly what .Paak manages to do (again) on Mac Miller’s new single Dang!
Dang! is quite a turn from the Mac’s trippy projects from over the past few years. On GO:OD A.M. last year, Mac stopped running from his frat-kid-lets-have-fun rap of old and stopped trying so hard to be the weird kid who does a ton of drugs and thinks he has some revolutionary philosophical ideas. There was no reason why he couldn’t be a little out there and have some fun which brought a new found confidence to his recordings, even if it was a little clumsy.
That spirit hasn’t left or even changed at all on this track, just plugged into a new sound. Mac’s flow is still a little rough but generally sounding good, on a new sound he wants to play with, and he’s still having a ton of fun. Anderson .Paak really steals the show here, mostly because the track sounds like a leftover cut from Malibu. But it’s not to the song’s detriment, as it sounds like at one point it could’ve been a demo .Paak never finished, the duo definitely extended this to a nice and heavy hitting song. The idea basically revolves around a back and forth relationship you’re kind of tired of and fairly confident you want to stay grounded. So the production is on point, .Paak’s singing is great, and Mac holds his own fairly well front and center in the spotlight. His flow does get a little cartoony which takes away from the sensuality of the song and his lyrics can get a little eye-rolling absurd at some points, but he matches it at others with different pitches in his rapping and some breathy singing that go over fantastic. It’ll be interesting to see if Mac decides that this is the sound he wants to play with over the course of the entire album and to see if he can make it as interesting as something like Malibu did. His next effort is The Divine Feminine, coming about a year after his last effort on September 16th and is confirmed to feature appearances from CeeLo Green, Kendrick Lamar, as well as this cut with Anderson .Paak.
Final Thoughts: A very good single from Mac. Now that he has the confidence to be fun and weird, it would be exciting to see him clean up his goofy side a little more and play to his strengths to finally make some tunes that’ll stay impressive in the years to come.