Although he previously paid tribute to his late friend and collaborator at a special benefit concert a few weeks ago, Anderson .Paak also addresses his regrets about Mac Miller’s death on the celebratory but cautionary “Cheers” from his new album Oxnard, out today via Aftermath.
While the jazzy, upbeat song, produced by Andre Brissett, Dr. Dre, Q-Tip, and Focus, gives off an air of champagne glasses and well-worn dance floors, in the verses, Anderson exposes some of his doubts about his role in Mac’s addictions, regretfully musing: “Wishin’ I still had Mac wit’ me / How do you tell a n—a slow it down when you livin’ just as fast as him?” The verses further address the pitfalls that inevitably seem to follow the intoxicating highs of fame and success: “Now, is this really what I wanted? Is it really worth the pain? … I’m losin’ all my aces, I’m runnin’ outta patience / Got some pretty faces knowin’ what my name is.”
Q-Tip, who guests on the buoyant track’s third verse, echoes his sentiments, saying, “So sick of sendin’ flowers to all my of brother’s mommas / Don’t know what’s harder, fightin’ trauma or keepin’ a promise.” Q-Tip is also no stranger to losing close homies and work friends; the death of Phife, his bandmate and brother in the pioneering group A Tribe Called Quest, prompted the group to give their last performance before dissolving late last year.
The message of the song is clear: Take care of you friends while they’re here. You never know when they won’t be.