Anderson .Paak – Malibu (2016): Review

malibu

Label – Steel Wool/OBE/Art Club/Empire

For those that didn’t hear any of Anderson .Paak’s previous releases (and there will be many), “Malibu” will be a minor revelation in that on digesting his latest collection, one wonders why he isn’t already a major star. The key to the animated positivity with which this has been received is quite simple. It contains some of the most elegant genre molding, with soul, jazz, hip hop and dance, all playfully intertwining, never forced or unwelcoming, spanning generations of influence and yet never sounding dated. Paak reveals that his focus is sharpened by putting his life into perspective following a period of homelessness, and building a foundation of dedication, a single minded vision which guided his compositional process. There will be comparisons with Kendrick Lamar, both sharing a similar conceptual approach, but Paak’s delivery is more relaxed and resplendent as he slides from rapping to singing.

Highlights include the unusually understated reminiscences of a troubled childhood on “The Bird”, the jazz infused “Heart Don’t Stand A Chance”, and the intricately descriptive “The Season/Carry Me”, where Paak administers pointed advice (“Ya moms in prison, ya father need a new kidney, Ya family’s splittin’ rivalries between siblings, If cash ain’t king, it’s damn sure the incentive”). He can funk with the best, fully evident on the groove laden “Am I Wrong”, and delivers a convincing slab of 60s soul on “Put Me Thru”.

It’s a superbly polished and positive statement; a rich and rhythmically robust recipe of intoxicating melodies, all elegantly arranged. It makes Dr Dre’s decision to include him in the “Compton” soundtrack perfectly understandable.

8/10

1 – The Bird (9)
2 – Heart Don’t Stand A Chance (9)
3 – The Waters (7)
4 – The Season/Carry Me (8)
5 – Put Me Thru (8)
6 – Am I Wrong (9)
7 – Without You (7)
8 – Parking Lot (8)
9 – Lite Weight (7)
10 – Room In Here (8)
11 – Water Fall (Interluuube) (6)
12 – Your Prime (8)
13 – Come Down (7)
14 – Silicon Valley (8)
15 – Celebrate (7)
16 – The Dreamer (7)

 

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