This isn’t so much of a throwback as my previous featured LPs, but this is one of my favorites and probably will be until I’m in my 50s. Anderson .Paak is a multi-talented musician who’s mother is half black and half Korean. He brings an exciting new style to today’s music scene, usually playing the drums while singing at his live shows. His 2016 LP, Malibu is probably my favorite album to come out from that year. It was so refreshing to hear a singing rapper with a unique voice who is extremely dedicated to the music and not so much the fame. Anderson .Paak was somewhat of a black sheep on last year’s XXL Freshmen list, joining the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, Desiigner, and Kodak Black.
Malibu is a cohesive piece of art that will be deemed timeless in years to come if not already. His eclectic style fuses soul, funk, dance, blues, hip-hop, and r&b all into one project and the use of live instrumentation makes it sound even more authentic and bearable for all age groups. Not to mention, he also played one of my favorite NPR Tiny Desk Concerts.
.Paak first came onto the scene with his first solo album titled Venice, but didn’t begin receiving proper recognition until his multiple appearances on Dr. Dre’s Compton album, and then appropriately signed with his Aftermath/Interscope label soon thereafter. If you have never heard him before, I like to say he is a mixture of Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and Chance the Rapper, but even that wouldn’t do his incomparable style enough justice.
He was nominated for two Grammys last year for Best New Artist and Urban Contemporary Album and even opened up for Bruno Mars on his 24K Magic World Tour, the one show I wouldn’t have minded attending with my mother. .Paak normally performs with his band, The Free Nationals, but also has a side act with a sample-based producer, Knxwledge to form the group, NxWorries, who released their album Yes Lawd! that same year (and if you are familiar with .Paak, you’ll recognize his signature adlib).
Malibu is truly a breath of fresh air for hip-hop fans who like stuff that is left from the norm but who also like feel-good music. I’m planning to see him live for the first time at this year’s AfroPunk Festival in Brooklyn this summer. Spin Malibu below via Spotify: