Review: Anderson .Paak Masterfully Bridges Funk, Hip-Hop and Soul On 'Oxnard'

Paak has released his highly anticipated album Oxnard with features from J. Cole, Q-Tip, Pusha T and others.
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Anderson Paak Oxnard

Anderson .Paak for many probably felt like an overnight star with the success of his 2016 album Malibu. Marshaled by Dr. Dre, he was propelled to new heights, opening for Beyoncé at Dodger Stadium (a gig says was pretty disastrous), touring the world, playing major festivals and putting him firmly in the mainstream spotlight. However with that spotlight and success, there are high expectations. The super talented singer, rapper, producer, drummer and producer had to come up with something even better for his next album. Oxnard is that, bridging all of his talents into one place with funk, hip-hop, soul and gospel into his most complete project to date. 

Oxnard is an ode to his hometown in Ventura Country, California. Not surprisingly, with a history of album names in Venice, Malibu and now Oxnard, Anderson .Paak looks to capture a West Coast sound that brings together g-funk, hip-hop, soul and bit of the gospel on which he was brought up. With his stature in the business, he assembles some of the best in the business – some of them West Coast legends like Kendrick Lamar (a young living legend), Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, while also branching out for collabs with J. ColeQ-Tip and Pusha T.

He is able to mesh seamlessly with his collaborators and both act as a leader and a sidekick to bring the best out of them and lead them to the best place on the song. His own multi-dimensionality shows on the record with shifting from upbeat funk on “Tints” or g-funk on “Anywhere,” which makes Snoop rap, “This the beat that make me reminisce on G-Funk / Three summers before The Chronic hit the streets.”

The album feels like a grand celebration of what Anderson .Paak has been living over the past two years. He has been able to live life to the fullest with that infectious grin on his face, but he does explore the darker side of the business on “Cheers” with Q-Tip. He references Mac Miller on the record, wondering if the business could ever slow down a bit. “Shit, music business movin' too fast for me (God damn) / Wishin' I still had Mac wit' me.”

There is a cool suaveness to Paak’s work that translates on this album. He slips in and out of various genres, always keeping a soulful spirit to it and keeping things grounded in his gospel upbringing. He keeps things chill on records like “Trippy” that J. Cole says was meant to be – it was blessed by god.

"This is my most ambitious album. Working with a lead producer like Dr. Dre, I feel like he along with the team we assembled brought the best out of me," says .Paak. "We had fun tackling every mood and genre. We learned so much since Malibu. We've seen the world twice and now it's time to bring it back home. Same man, new car!"

Oxnard is a funky, luxurious drive down in a drop top convertible on an open freeway with the wind flowing through your hair and beautiful scenery on each side. Pick up a copy here.

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