West Coast singer and Hip-hop/ R&B artist Anderson .Paak’s second full-length album Malibu is a diverse, exciting and incredibly smooth sophomore effort, one that has generated a tonne of buzz and interest in Paak from music fans. After many guest appearances all over Dr. Dre’s Compton, his latest solo record features MC’s Schoolboy Q, The Game, and Rapsody, to name a few. Each track presents a smooth drum track behind a warm and groovy bassline, and the treble of the high-hats and snares contrast sharply against Anderson’s varied vocal stylings and the thick, full bass frequencies. Whilst there are a few softer spots on the LP, such as the delightful clap-filled chill-pop song Parking Lot, Paak shows his ability to lay down great tracks for some fairly hard MC’s, notably Room in Here, which Compton rapper Game hops on. The sort of happy/sad beat and Paak’s smooth vocals on the hook make The Game’s verse even rougher. This track is followed by the soft love song Water Fall (Interluuube), with flavours of Marvin Gaye and easy-going drums and percussion. It’s difficult to pick out my favourite track when the whole record has a The Roots-style optimism, and Anderson repeatedly tells us compelling and sometimes heart-breaking tales of misfortune and adversity. The drum grooves all over this record are smooth, full of swing and wonderfully human and personal. They have the head-nodding quality of J Dilla’s work with the hip and jumpy grooves of The Roots’ drummer Questlove. The sharp snares work perfectly in unison with the easy, relaxed hats and cymbals, as the kick drums create brilliant channels for the basslines to flow along. Anderson’s voice is smooth but rough at the same time, soothing but rugged, and ultimately satisfying. He hits the high notes as his voice cracks and whispers, and he provides soft mids and lows with charm and charisma. Malibu is the best-sounding record of the year so far, and the production work from the various beatmakers is crisp, sharp and playful throughout the LP. Anderson Paak is a young man who has been on the receiving end of the American dream- just 5 years ago he was fired from a weed farm in California and left with nothing to provide for his family with, and now he’s killing it. A genuinely excellent R&B record doing the rounds on websites and gaining heaps of respect from critics and Hip-Hop heads alike. It’s onwards and upwards for the 30 year old musician, but he must remember that upwards can also mean uphill- if enough love, soul, passion and thought is put into his next project, Anderson will secure himself a place in R&B stardom.
Highlights: The Bird, Heart Don’t Stand A Chance, Parking Lot, Room In Here, The Dreamer.