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Album Review: Anderson .Paak released an album of the year contender with “Oxnard”

Anderson .Paak arrives at the BET Hip Hop Awards at Fillmore Miami Beach on Oct. 6, in Miami Beach, Fla. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

On Nov. 16, Anderson .Paak released his third studio album, “Oxnard.” This release comes two years after the critically acclaimed “Malibu.” To promote the record, .Paak released three singles, “Bubblin,” “Who R U?,” and “Tints,” which features Kendrick Lamar, the last two being making the final tracklist. He also announced that Dr. Dre would be the executive producer of the album.

The production on this project is top notch and contains some of the best instrumentals of the year, with tracks like “The Chase,” the opener of the album, having a retro and funky sound and “Anywhere,” which contains elements of G-Funk. The project also has an upbeat factor to it as well with songs like “Left to Right,” a track where .Paak employs a Jamaican accent throughout, and “Sweet Chick,” which seems like a callback to the Jay-Z hit “Girls, Girls, Girls.”


We also get to see a more braggadocious side of .Paak throughout the project, again adding to the project as a whole. .Paak doesn’t come off as overly cocky on any of these specific tracks, like “Who R U?” or “Mansa Musa,” and while he might invoke a sense of power and wealth on these tracks, he doesn’t come off as arrogant.

.Paak doesn’t just talk about his wealth or give us overall fun tracks on the record though. He also goes over an array of topics in today’s current climate, most notably on “6 Summers” where he covers many controversial topics such as gun violence and President Trump. Despite this, .Paak also evokes a strong personal message of love.

Another key component that adds to “Oxnard” is its features. They all play well in context to the songs and don’t take away or provide nothing to .Paak and the song. Some of the highlights include Pusha T’s verse about his relationship with his brother No Malice on “Brother’s Keeper,” Snoop Dogg’s reminiscent feature on “Anywhere,” and both J. Cole and BJ The Chicago Kid’s individual contributions on the tracks ”Trippy” and ”Sweet Chicks” respectively.

The most emotional song on the album is “Cheers” which is a reflective song that talks about the pitfalls faced by living in the fast lane. .Paak references his friend and collaborator Mac Miller, who died in September. The track also has Q-Tip, who reminisces about his old friend and former member of A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg, who died in 2016. Q-Tip also raps about how he is “sick of sending flowers to all of my brothers’ mommas”

All in all, “Oxnard” is a solid effort. The production and features are both highs for the album, but ultimately the performance of .Paak throughout the album is what’s important and he delivers. .Paak’s voice and verses matched well with the instrumentals on this project and while the features were all great, he made sure to stand on his own. While the album is a definite improvement from an already great “Malibu” album, the only low about it is that not every song is great but just good — and that’s not a bad thing.

4.5/5

 

 

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