The oh so groovy Anderson .Paak is back again to add yet another gratifying album to this already stacked year for hip hop music. Oxnard is .Paak’s third studio album under the alias Anderson .Paak, although he does have two others under the name Breezy Lovejoy (good call on the name change .Paak.) Early this year he released the change-of-pace single, “Bubblin,” a growling trap/funk banger that is one of my favorites of the year. Soon after the release, I discovered he was set to drop an album in 2018, and I was hoping hard that it would follow the same artist style as “Bubblin.” When I saw the that tracklist didn’t even include the track, I knew this wouldn’t be the case, but nevertheless this project ain’t too shabby.
Oxnard is a 14-track, joyous record that continues Paak.’s theme of naming albums after california settings. Oxnard is the beachside city west of LA where Paak. was born, and is no less as beautiful as Malibu, or Venice, both musically and scenically. On this project, Paak.’s connection with Dr. Dre really paid off for him, as the production of this album is A1. These tracks are smooth, bouncy, and overall flow very well with each other.
I loved Kadhja Bonet’s entrancing, yet somewhat eerie vocals to kickoff Oxnard; she sets Anderson up beautifully to take over with his wondrous, iconic voice. After the first two songs, Oxnard really starts to hit its stride with the following couple of tracks. “Tints,” which benefits from the legendary Kendrick Lamar, is an absolute gem thats sounds amazing when you are just cruising, and “Who R U?” has this unique energy that just gets makes your head nod. I’ve always been a fan of Anderson’s euphonious ability to switch from rapping to singing at any moment, and he shows this ability off through Oxnard. After a few mid level tracks, Anderson starts to utilize other artists to provide their own particular flavors to spice up the album. I especially enjoyed Pusha T’s feature on “Brother’s Keeper,” Snoop’s on “Anywhere,” and Q-Tip’s on “Cheers.” They honestly provide such good features they almost overpower Paak’s performance on each of the tracks.
Overall, this album is a pretty well rounded project that, although isn’t as full of soul as his prior work, keeps Anderson .Paak’s iconic sound alive and thriving. Dr. Dre’s influence is obviously present and helps make this album thoroughly refreshing and original. It’s not perfect by any means, but it doesn’t disappoint.
Hits – “Tints,” “Brother’s Keeper,” “Anywhere”
Misses – Last 30 seconds of “Headlow,” “Left to Right”
Rate – 7
By: Daniel Lopez