After years grinding for achievement, what occurs whenever you get all the things you need? 2016 was an inescapable yr for Anderson Paak however the narrative hooked up to his rise is what made it really feel so real. The man can do something: play the drums, sing funk and rap about stealing your woman with a wink. It’s this charisma, moreover his innate songwriting skills, that made him stand out on Dr Dre’s Compton, and dropping a solo album and a collab with Knxwledge in 2016 appeared to solely bolster this notion. It’s additionally this innate charisma that singlehandedly saves each stiff and awkward second present in Oxnard. His first album for Aftermath, with Dre executively producing and a slew manufacturing courtesy Paak himself, ninth Wonder, Q-Tip, Mell and members the Free Nationals, goals sky-high.
Kicking it f with a two-song suite that begins with the sound flutes and ends with a severe case highway head gone incorrect; Oxnard is meant to be stadium-level shit. Paak has an ideal voice; a honeyed rasp seemingly succesful doing something and as a rapper, he is emotive and charismatic. It’s his singing voice, one thing you may describe with a collection exclamation factors, is what drew in listeners and it’s this voice that you just hear on lead single “Tints,” a busy, knocking jam that you just’ll hear all yr regardless the climate exterior. Yet Oxnard pushes this to the sidelines and prioritizes the latter. It largely works out as a result of Paak can nonetheless coax partaking melodies out his raps, even when they’re a bit stilted at instances. “Who R U” exhibits simply what he can do when he’s engaged in Rap Paak mode, bouncing f the partitions because the f-kilter drums threaten to swallow the whole room entire.
Yet when given an even bigger palette to attract from, Paak stumbles. “6 Summers” begins f as a free-associative jam; Trump’s lovechild, Fela Kuti and gun reform weighing closely on Paak’s thoughts earlier than the band tears the track aside on the halfway level, rebuilding it right into a simmering, West Coast burner that leaves you to marvel why we needed to get by means of some awkward freestyling first. “Mansa Musa,” that includes Dre, feels far nearer to the latter’s Compton than Paak’s imaginative and prescient right here. Album nearer “Left to Right” options some grossly misplaced patois that feels extremely out place on the finish a journey; a wild monologue because the film credit shut and the broad angle shot a serene Los Angeles fades to black.
One profit working with Dre is the upgraded Rolodex names to name upon. Snoop Dogg takes a break from hanging out with Martha Stewart to take younger listeners to highschool on the g-funk “Anywhere,” sounding completely thrilled to reminisce. BJ The Chicago Kid is available in with a joyous visitor vocal on “Sweet Chick,” an additional reminder Anderson .Paak’s charisma as a result of no person else can say one thing fairly as ridiculous as “she be watching anime whereas I am laying dick” and promote it with a wink and amusing. “Brother’s Keeper” makes an attempt the identical trick “6 Summers” tried, however to raised success, sounding brewed within the California desert as .Paak and Pusha T commerce f verses about remorse and success. “Trippy” finds J.Cole persevering with his yr stellar visitor verses with one about utilizing rental vehicles as a flex and attempting to meet up with outdated flames. Then there’s “Cheers,” a eulogy to instances and folks passed by. Loss weighs heavy on the minds .Paak and Q-Tip, who paints a surprising tribute to Phife Dawg. “My story ain’t over, I am nonetheless turnin’ pages” Q-Tip raps, “But the image I painted with you in it has light”
Oxnard is not any failure however it faults underneath the load its crushing ambitions. Malibu and Yes Lawd! gave .Paak loads room to do his factor however labored wonders with limitations. Here, we have now a Paak wanting to determine simply what he can do with extra. But Oxnard, with its sinuous combine West Coast funk and hedonistic rap, proves that Anderson .Paak is one the perfect at the moment and has a traditional (if not a number of) ready. He’s been affected person all through his whole rise to the highest; it solely is smart to use the identical logic to his famous person second.