Musician Anderson .Paak has had quite the incredible run in the past couple of years. He recently made his break into the mainstream with his numerous remarkable features on Dr. Dre’s latest album “Compton,” which accompanied the major motion film/biopic “Straight Outta’ Compton” that came out in August 2015. The album was dropped in coordination with the film, unannounced or advertised, and was dripping with many new up and coming artist features. .Paak was one of these artists, yet he stuck out among the others, and has continued this trend in his latest works.
He capitalized on the publicity of the “Compton” album almost immediately, releasing his solo album “Malibu” this past January, teaming with guest features from hip hop artists such as The Game, Schoolboy Q, Talib Kweli, Rapsody and many more. “Malibu” was critically acclaimed by his core fan base which had stuck with him for many years, but for the first time, .Paak had also grabbed the ears of countless new listeners and quickly ensured that this new audience not only would be here to stay, but also that they would quickly demand more.
Anderson .Paak is truly a one of a kind artist. In an era of music where individuality is progressively vanishing from mainstream hits, he has seemingly found a niche in his own eclectic genre. He collaborates largely with hip hop artists, but is by no means confined to the stereotypes of what a hip hop artist should be. He challenges this image with influences in genres such as jazz, blues, rock, soul, R&B and just about anything else that sounds like good music. .Paak also records and performs his music alongside his band, The Free Nationals, who resemble the dynamic of a rock band, with Anderson sometimes pausing mid-performance to captivate his crowd further by playing the drums.
His hip hop influences have led him to be featured on this year’s XXL Freshman class, which is a collective of new artists that are expected to change or captivate the genre in the years to come. Other key artists like Kendrick Lamar, J Cole and Logic have also been featured in previous years’ issues, but there has rarely been a year like that which he was featured in.
Here, .Paak sits among a long list of new age rappers such as Lil’ Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert that fall under the so called “mumble rap” sub-genre of hip hop. He is just about as far of a polar opposite as one could create from the rest in his class, and this is part of what makes him stand out. His music is not necessarily any better or worse than that of his peers, as music is an objective genre but he makes a distinct achievement in arriving at the same accolade of making the Freshman class through the means of his own genre.
As recently as Sept. 19, .Paak released a single off his long-awaited new album “Yes Lawd!,” which is a collaborative effort by his duo group NxWorries. This group captivated us previously with their EP “Link Up & Suede” which was a very smooth and ambitious debut body of work. Some of the music from that EP made the final cut for the new album, set for a Oct. 21 release date later this year.
Anderson .Paak is certainly an artist to watch out for, regardless of whether or not he will be topping the Billboard charts in the near future. .Paak brings back to the music industry so much of the soul that we’ve seen in legendary artists like James Brown with a new-aged modernity, which is both a refreshing and difficult balance to achieve. .Paak seems to be on the track to finding his place among the greats, and we hope to see what inspiration he can contribute to this art form.
Christopher Mueller is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.