Anderson .Paak hit my radar with the arrival of “Compton”, album come soundtrack from none other than Dr. Dre, end of summer last year. I had no fucking clue who the dude was but I soon got to know given he featured on about a third of the album. His contributions were commanding, intriguing and his raspy tone was a joy to listen to. As I was telling one of my friends about this Malibu album, he enlightened me to one of his recent favourite tracks courtesy of Busdriver, featuring .Paak called “Worlds To Ruin”. It’s getting to overplay treatment currently as a result. So basically the dude has his fingers in pies, big and small at the the minute.
This formidable debut, 16 tracks, an hour worth of material, shows .Paak’s diverse skill set. The album fuses funk, soul, hip hop, rap and pop with pretty great results. Of course, there are some standout features, most likely as a result of that Dre relationship, coming in the form of ScHoolboy Q, The Game, BJ The Chicago Kid and Taleb Kweli. .Paak’s vocal performance throughout is pretty astounding, genre hopping yet maintaining a classical soul feel. When he dips into his rap persona, specifically over the 9th Wonder beat on “Without You”, it’s terribly enjoyable and reminds you that the boy can do just about anything on the track. It’s that whole polymathic shit that gets you angry sometimes when you remember you just alright at a bunch of shit and there’s dudes out there like him nailing it.
Thankfully, Anderson doesn’t stick to the tried and tested R&B formula when it comes to lyricism as he branches out a little going into his past, going up and struggling to make it as an artist. I know other artist’s are doing this but it doesn’t seem to hold the same weight when the week after they drop their album they’re plugging songs about getting faded in the club, fucking bitches and doing drugs. My favourite track on the project changes everyday ‘cause I keep looping it so much but currently it’s “Come Down”. The bassline is stellar with some steady hi hat rattling to boot. Before this, “Put Me Thru” was top of the pile. It’s aural gold. Click on the track title to transport your earholes there.
Of course, it can’t be perfection. Well, perhaps it is for some but there’s that track I always skip on here and that’s “Your Prime”. The production across the record is so tight, almost too tight at times that it could have done with some more live instrumentation. Perhaps if those couple of weaker tracks were left out it’d be top banana. It’s also worthwhile noting that the visual accompaniments to the album are fanatic. The album cover is beautiful. A sort of surreal amalgamation of references in ode to California, music and culture. His Instagram is pretty awesome too, click here for that. In summation, I reckon this album will be floating in and around my top ten for the year. Yes. It may only be a few weeks in to 2016 but this record is that fantastic. Go get it and cheers for reading. Thanks.