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Anderson .Paak remembers his roots with new album, 'Oxnard'

Since his star debut on Dr. Dre’s Compton, Anderson .Paak has left fans addicted to his slow rasp and smooth vocals and instrumentals reminiscent of famed 70’s R&B. California native, .Paak stays true to his loyal theme with the release of his new album on Nov. 16. Following his first two studio-produced albums, Malibu and Venice, .Paak’s new Oxnard serves as a homecoming, a tribute to his hometown of Oxnard, California.

.Paak relied on his former mentor, Dr. Dre, to produce Oxnard, who also helped with certain lyrical and rhythmic obstacles .Paak ran into during the creation. In an interview with NPR’s David Greene, .Paak described the relationship he has with his producer.

Courtesy of Anderson. Paak

“Just two Aquariuses going at it: two control freaks, perfectionists that just can't stop working on a project,” .Paak said. “I love it.”

.Paak channels his mentor in his new musical creation, finding inspiration in the smooth, jazzy notes of old school hip hop and rap.

.Paak includes other famous names in his album, with features from artists Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Snoop Dogg, Pusha T, Kadhja Bonet, Norelle, Q-Tip, BJ the Chicago Kid and even Dr. Dre himself.

Top Left: Dr. Dre, Top Right: Kendrick Lamar, Middle Left: J. Cole, Middle: Kadhja Bonet, Middle Right: Pusha T, Bottom Left: Snoop Dogg, Bottom Right: BJ The Chicago Kid

The early release of “Tints” featuring Kendrick Lamar, and a solo rap with “Who R U?,” gives listeners a taste of the upbeat, soulful rhythms that can be found on the album.

The hour long record begins with “The Chase” featuring Kadhja Bonet, and opens with sounds of a car revving and radio stations switching. Bonet’s ethereal vocals slowly fade in, seamlessly incorporating her “gypsy folk” inspiration into .Paak’s jazz fusion. “The Chase” showcases a wide variety of musical styles, heavy bass, high flute notes, symphonic beats and of course the poetic verses of .Paak himself. This mashup, however, does not distract, only adding to the celestial state of mind that .Paak manages to transport us to.

The second track on the album, “Headlow,” also begins with the same style of heavenly vocals, this time contributed by rising artist, Norelle. While .Paak raps much more on Oxnard than previous albums such as Malibu and Venice, he reminds us of his stunning vocals on this track especially, taking advantage of the chorus to add a melody to his lyric, making it one of my favorite songs on the album.

.Paak continues with his theme of variety in both “6 Summers” and “Savior Road,” bringing in an African style of percussion and singing. However, the long absence of .Paak’s vocals in the beginning of “Savior Road” breeds impatience that isn’t fully sated by the short song.

Dr. Dre’s appearance is only made in the eighth song, "Mansa Musa," and his contribution is obviously apparent. Immediately as the track opens, the 90’s rap influence is introduced and then continued with the lyrical style. .Paak raps about money and wealth, perhaps a common theme for hip-hop but on .Paak’s album, a superficial disappointment.

Thankfully, .Paak’s next song, “Brother’s Keeper” more than makes up for it with beautiful guitar notes, excellent contributions from Pusha T and .Paak’s soothing, melodic rasp. The consistent and catchy beat and instrumental closing make it my go-to song on the record.

The last song on the album, “Left to Right” reminds listeners of .Paak’s upbeat and care-free personality through Jamaican pronunciation and non-annoyingly repetitive choruses featuring .Paak’s vocals.

Overall, .Paak serves us his best work on Oxnard, truly going back to his roots and unlocking a whole new array of musical talent. His switches between meaningful and spunky lyrics provide music for all crowds, even the oldies. In the end however, it is the beautiful voice of .Paak himself that manages to draw an audience, basking in the glow of his incredible skill.

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