Q: IS ANDERSON .PAAK AN UNDERWHELM? (11/15) A: YES (11/16) A: NOPE.
[Editor’s Note: the following was written on November 15th, 2018, the day before Anderson .Paak’s third record Oxnard was released. We now realize the error of our ways, but want to show you the full editorial process so as to disclose that we are humans too.]
I think we can all remember the first time we heard Anderson .Paak.
“Damn, this new Chance the Rapper song” is hot as hell, we all said, only to quickly find out otherwise. “Oh that’s not Chance? Sure sounds like him. Well he’s pretty cool… what else he got?” Nothing? Oh.
Here’s the question Does Anderson .Paak kind of maybe possibly suck? He gets all this hype, like I’m supposed to give some kind of shit, but I can barely muster anything for more than one listen for the rapper. Fool seemed to pop up out of nowhere at some Coachella back in the day, getting that Goldenvoice seal of approval that basically carried his mediocre ass half a decade of cred. Name me one song that’s even remotely memorable. You can’t can you?
Oh, “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance?”
Yeah, okay, this one is pretty dope, I’ll admit. But what has he done since then? Some middling-ass collaborative project with Knxwledge that he wouldn’t even put his name on? NxWorries? More like Nxt Listening. Or is the homie just scared to try and curb the sophomore slump? (I’m aware that he’s got two records already Malibu and Venice, but let’s call it sophomore from the one he blew up on. That’s still challenging. How do you follow up?)
.Paak can’t live up to the hype so how bout he just meanders about, taking two years of mediocrity to hide his true fear of not being able to live up to the world’s expectations.
I’d bet $4000 dollars that this next record is a major UNDERWHELM. Not gonna even listen.
[Editor’s Note 2: the following was written (as quickly as possible) on November 16th, 2018 after actually listening to the new record to make up for the stupid idiots we were being.]
AND Oxnard came out and everything changed, didn’t it?
What was I thinking? “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” is a modern masterpiece!
.Paak’s positive energy is infectious, not infuriating! What the hell is wrong with me? Why so hateful? I hereby retract all earlier statements, as Anderson .Paak (and Dr. Dre) have clearly put together the quintessential G-Funk record of easily the past ten years. When was the last G-Funk record even? Dre bringing the heaaaaat.
Here, .Paak defly rides the line between funky vibes and spitfire MC fury. Some songs are made for relaxing on the couch with a blunt and your best girl, while others come off more as message tracks, serving to show off the virtuosity of the rapper as a wordsmith and not just a feelings man. He’s running the show here, jumping around like a maniac-- but one in complete and total control of the sound.
On Malibu, .Paak had features from Schoolboy Q, The Game and Talib Kweli. But with Oxnard he goes for LEGENDS only. With Dr. Dre executive producing, all the kings come out for a verse. Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, Snoop Dogg, J. Cole and Q-Tip all show up (and BOY do they show up). Paak doesn’t make them fit to his sound, he comes to their level and evolves to the next level of Pokemon (.Paakemon) with every track.
What’s the best song on the album? Easy. Dr. Dre’s feature (and FULLLL production) on “Mansa Musa.” .Paak screams about being back on his bullshit and Dre brags about making billions, plus a verse from Cocoa Sairai that feels like the kind of feature that will push her into the next level.
ANDERSON .PAAK - MANSA MUSA (FEAT. DR. DRE & COCOA SARAI)
It’s official Anderson .Paak is not an underwhelm, but in fact one of the great funky MCs to ever grab a mic and sing and rap into it. He’s not just a Chance the Rapper clone like people so rudely thought at the beginning, he is a force of nature who’s going to be around for a long time.
[Image labelled for reuse from flickr]
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.