Music Reviews

Album Review: Anderson .Paak – Malibu

Anderson .Paak is a California native who embodies soul. He graced Dr Dre’s Compton LP with his soulful vocals, passionate riffs and exceptional lyricism on 8 of the 12 tracks on the Dre project. On the back of the ensuing hype, Anderson has been able to deliver a critically acclaimed album of his own entitled Malibu.

Now an Aftermath signee, Paak employs his cool rap flows with a vocal tone that seems to be a healthy mix of Kendrick Lamar and BJ the Chicago Kid, to create an entertaining LP that has put him firmly on the map.

“The finished project is undoubtedly the product of an accomplished multi-instrumentalist”

The finished project is undoubtedly the product of an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, as .Paak achieves a specifically unique sound. He is apparently not only a skilled singer and rapper, but also has excellent production skills, having produced ‘The Bird’ ‘Put Me Thru’ and ‘Celebration.’ I also must praise the producers that Paak brought in for this project – especially Madlib, 9th Wonder, and the immaculate work that POMO did on ‘Am I Wrong.’

The LP begins with a psychedelic guitar riff consisting of 3 notes that entices you in. Shortly after, Anderson enters with his soothing, unique vocals, and the drums amplify the funky vibes. The track ends how it begins, with soul and passion.

Following this track, the album stays pretty consistent in terms of quality. The features are impressive and carefully chosen, as each artist adds quality to the project without outshining Anderson – rather, they compliment the sound he is trying to achieve.

The fact that Anderson’s singing voice is almost identical to his talking voice allows him to seamlessly alter between singing, rapping, and talking on this LP, in a way I just haven’t heard before. At some times I even prefer his rapping to his singing – for example, on songs like ‘The Waters’, where he demonstrates a lyrical ability that can only come from spending as long as he has in the music industry.

Deep and insightful at times, Anderson can also be quite cheeky and crude with his lyrics. Lines such as “Am I wrong to assume that if she can’t dance, she can’t ugh,” and “Under those tig’ ol’ bitties there’s a heart” demonstrate this clearly. On top of this, he includes a perfect mix of old school soul with songs such as ‘Put Me Thru’ and ‘Am I Wrong’, and new sounds on songs like ‘Lite Weight.’

“Each [featured] artist adds quality to the project without outshining Anderson – rather, they compliment the sound he is trying to achieve”

One of my favourite moments on the album is the double time switch up on ‘Am I Wrong’, allowing Schoolboy Q to murder his feature, all followed by a drop out of the drums and an energetic brass line, reminding me of Michael Jackson’s ‘Wanna Be Startin Somethin’, topped off with a smooth guitar rhythm at the end. Also, the use of the Hiatus Kayote sample on ‘Without You’ was an unanticipated treat. Rapsody also deserves a special mention, with another smooth feature on this track.

This is undoubtedly a formidable body of work. Whilst every track on this album is enjoyable, I feel that Anderson hasn’t quite mastered solo projects the same way he has mastered featuring. That being said, however, his recent signing to Aftermath suggests he can only improve from here. To paraphrase Chance The Rapper “.Paak met Dr.Dre – he’s never going to fail”, I mean, look at Kendrick Lamar. Anderson may cry “F*** Fame, it killed all of my favourite entertainers,” but he’s going to have to deal with it himself now.

Joshua Ogunmokun

Josh is currently listening to ‘Ultra Light Beam’ by Kanye West feat. Chance the Rapper

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