I’ll be the first to admit when I’m late to the party. Maybe I was at an event and catch a piece of something dope, attempt to ask who it is only to be reminded of my tardiness. Sometimes I hear about an artist but never set the time aside to sit down and actually check them out. One artist I regret not making time for earlier on in their career is Anderson .Paak, the Cali native that has masterfully blurred the lines between R&B Soul and hip hop. A friend of mine asked me if I heard Malibu yet, and for some odd reason I dropped what I was doing and seeked out the project for review. As a huge fan of the Neo-Soul era, “The Bird”, Anderson’s intro to Malibu, unleashed familiar harmonies and an overall setting that felt a lot like home. I continued on throughout the project, never thinking of interrupting the stories Anderson would tell so melodically.
Taking his album offline and down under to the 4 train home, the music and his passion continued to resonate. With refreshing subject matter on each record, there was a song for any mood or situation, hell any season. That last thought had me wondering, “Could we finally have the Summer of old back?”
Fun, flirty vibes have ushered in the Summer for years but as of late it seems, trap anthems have taken over. The Summer has always been special to music, from So So Def Bass Allstars to Usher to T-Pain to The Dream to Ryan Leslie, but the last decade has been underwhelming to say the least. Luckily, due to a new popular dance craze, Summer anthems seems to be coming full circle. You can head to any bar or nightclub right now and hear Ghost Town DJ’s 1995 hit record, ” My Boo” before last call.
Anderson .Paak’s breezy aura disn’t start with Malibu, rather continues. Going back within his catalog to Venice, you can see where it began to shift. After rebranding from previous stage name, Breezy Lovejoy, it was only fitting to maintain his calm, cool, collected energy while he evolved.
What I find most interesting about .Paak is his ability to collaborate with numerous producers without sacrificing his sound. A glimpse inside of the Link Up & Suede EP, Anderson .Paak showcases his ability to levitate over soulful intrstrumentals, cleverly still paying hon age to his roots. He can also be found on Kaytranda’s 99.9% doing what he does best only this time displaying a more aggressive hip hop approach.
I say this all to say, I’ve enjoyed the trap summer anthems as much as the next person but there’s nothing like R&B in the summer. Although many will argue his genre, you can’t debate the good times that will be created at the sound of his music. Sit back and enjoy it for what it is, and groove to your heart’s content all summer.
Barry Barz – Up Close and R&B