Release Date: Nov 16, 2018
Record label: Aftermath
Anderson Paak recollects on volume three of his beach trilogy that he envisioned, back in high school, making music with Dr. Dre. The foresight manifested a decade later in a recurring role on Compton, and then a contract with the doctor's Aftermath label, announced a few months later, just as second volume Malibu was about to crash Billboard's R&B/hip-hop Top Ten.
After the breakthrough of previous album 'Malibu', the rapper explores the fall-out of newfound fame, but retains the sunny disposition that made us love him the first time around Knitting together ’60s soul, freewheeling jazz and punchy club music into a sunny West Coast tangle, 2016’s 'Malibu' was the record that made Anderson .Paak officially massive - and for very good reason. Previously an underrated outlier, better known for his work on Dr. Dre's 'Compton', .Paak's imagery has always held a glimmering core of sunshine at the centre, and on 'Malibu' it landed with sand-flecked perfection.
The Lowdown: Anderson .Paak first recorded under the pseudonym Breezy Lovejoy, and that's not a bad description of his music. This is not to say that the rapper-singer-producer is some sort of fountain of positivity — he's a thinking man in 2018, after all. But even as he wades through the muck of police brutality and President Trump, .Paak radiates joy — a joy that warms the ear the same way sunshine warms the face.
His imprint Aftermath Entertainment, launched in 1996, has only successfully released 28 albums - less than two a year on average - with a long history of delaying and occasionally shelving its artists output. When California's Anderson .Paak - singer/rapper/drummer wunderkind whose last record, Malibu, caught a Grammy nomination - was announced as Aftermath's latest signing, some joked his next release wouldn't make it outside the live room. In fact, .Paak stated in a recent interview that after presenting the boss with his first finished version, executive producer Dre sent him back to the drawing board.
With its languid pace and sunstruck mix of hedonism and tragedy, Los Angeles has always had a powerful and enduring relationship with funk music. The onset of G-funk in the '90s channeled the whining synthesizer experiments of Zapp and Parliament Funkadelic into something sepulchral and nihilistic and, in doing so, defined parameters for L.A. Funk. And now, you can hear Parliament-by-way-of-Dr.
I know this isn’t his second album, but Anderson .Paak’s follow-up to critically acclaimed breakthrough Malibu feels a sophomore slump all the same. That one still feels like a breath of fresh air since no one has a voice like .Paak’s charred soul, and contemporary artists who also merge R&B and hip-hop (they all seem to be trap artists nowadays) aren’t interested in the retro sound - soul, funk - that .Paak loves. And what a polyglot too! A singer/drummer who can also rap whenever he wants to (“The Waters”), plus the person responsible for producing the most stunningly soulful cut on that album (“The Bird”) .
"The music business moving too fast for me." Anderson Paak's statement on new album 'Oxnard' seems paradoxical. Since mixtape 'Venice', it's the industry that has struggled to keep up the pace, rather than him. Riding an unstoppable vertical path to the top, Paak has put together a string of critically acclaimed releases that have thrust his name into lights.
Rating: NNNN When Anderson .Paak's Malibu dropped at the top of 2016, the immediacy of the groove-laden synthesis of taut soul and raspy, melodic hip-hop cemented it as a modern classic. What's instantly apparent listening to Oxnard, his third album, is that it is not Malibu 2.0. As the third entry in .Paak's California-themed albums following 2014's Venice and the aforementioned Malibu, Oxnard (Paak's hometown) stays true to his streak of restless creativity as opposed to staying in a comfortable rhythm.
Anderson .Paak's ascent has been dizzying. The Californian drummer-rapper-singer-producer went from relative obscurity to stealing the show on Dr Dre's Compton album; 2016's Malibu LP earned him a Grammy nomination; now, Tints, .Paak's most recent breezy funk tune with Kendrick Lamar, laments the fact that .Paak's fame demands tinted windows. The third instalment under .Paak's name motors north up the California coast to his native Oxnard, top down, throwing out grooves and hosting an array of intriguing guest spots - including Kadhja Bonet on the atmospheric opener, The Chase, or Q Tip on Cheers, where .Paak celebrates his achievement.
After a decade of struggle, Anderson Paak was seemingly a past-his-prime 29-year-old drummer-rapper-singer when things turned around. After a half-dozen cameos on Dr. Dre's 2015 comeback album, "Compton," Paak earned critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for his 2016 breakthrough, "Malibu." The follow-up, "Oxnard" (Aftermath/12 Tone), is named after the California coastal city where Paak grew up.