words + curation / ARMAN SADZRADEH
If you’re as big an Anderson .Paak fan as me (or maybe you aren’t but you can’t deny his talent and musicianship), you may be growing a little restless waiting for his next album. We always seem to be consuming music faster than artists can put out – the recent Kendrick Lamar album being a very salient example.
Anderson .Paak released his breakthrough album Malibu back on January 15, 2016, and since then he’s been very busy. This includes doing extensive work appearing on other artists’ material, being nominated for two Grammy awards, and beginning his world tour alongside Bruno Mars.
While we wait for more Anderson .Paak, here is a short playlist with every song that .Paak has been featured on since January 15, 2016:
[All dates retrieved from genius.com]
‘Dance Off’ by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
February 26, 2016
This track features actor Idris Elba doing his best Vincent Price impression (think the eerie voice in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”). As dance-oriented as the song is, it doesn’t feature as much of Anderson .Paak as I would like. Nonetheless, its beat will make you dance in your seat.
‘Dapper’ by Domo Genesis
March 10, 2016
Odd Future producer Domo Genesis delivers the groove and a few verses on this track, echoing vibes from .Paak’s own ‘Am I Wrong’, making it a perfect fit for .Paak’s smooth vocal harmonies and playful raps. Also there’s a guitar solo.
‘Money On Me’ by Snakehips
April 4, 2016
If you’ve read my previous review of the EP housing this track, you’ll find that I am a huge fan of Snakehips, the electronic hip hop duo from UK whom I believe is incredibly underrated (one man’s opinions don’t mean too much in the grand scheme of things, but then again, you’re still reading, so…). An energetic hip hop beat featuring Anderson .Paak throughout the entire track makes this a favourite of mine. Perfect for driving downtown (picture a slow-mo music video of you in a convertible surrounded by skyscrapers).
‘GLOWED UP’ by KAYTRANADA
April 7, 2016
This song comes from Montreal producer Kaytranada, and coincidentally, released just 3 days after the previous .Paak track. This song hits hard with its beat and basslines, as all Kaytranada songs do (if you listen to him enough you can recognize a Kaytranada bassline anywhere). The song mellows out near the end into a dreamy breakdown with .Paak’s sultry vocals there to help you gaze at the stars.
‘Laputa (Taylor McFerrin Remix)’ by Hiatus Kaiyote
April 13, 2016
If you are not familiar with Hiatus Kaiyote, prepare your ears. The heavily soul-infused quartet hails from Australia and in 2013 were nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B performance for their song “Nakamarra” which featured Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. Hiatus Kaiyote consistently provides dreamy melodies and keyboard flourishes, laid back drums but energetic when they need to be, and the unique voice of lead singer Nai Palm. Taylor McFerrin (who himself has some respectable solo works) has remixed the third track from Hiatus Kaiyote’s second album Choose Your Weapon (2015) and retains much of the original version’s mood, adding a fresh take while keeping it familiar, and quite honestly, McFerrin has done such a great job that Anderson .Paak’s feature verse is almost unnecessary. However, it adds some more imagery to the mood as well as another voice to contrast that of Palm’s.
‘Blank Face’ by ScHoolboy Q
July 8, 2016
From the LP that famously trolled fans with its false Crying-Jordan-meme album cover comes a track with nothing but fluid bass grooves and guitar melodies serving as the foundation for .Paak and Q to go back and forth over. While this song may not be as funky as the others on here, it remains a very respectable collaboration between the two and offers a nice kick-back while you listen.
‘Dang!’ by Mac Miller
July 28, 2016
The first single to be released from Miller’s album The Divine Feminine, again echoes the bouncy ‘Am I Wrong’ vibe from Malibu, but I’m not complaining. Ridiculously addictive rhythm, funky synthesizers, light e-piano melodies, and all around good vibes made this song a very fast summer hit for many in 2016 (but don’t let that stop it from taking over your 2017 summer too).
‘No Slaves’ by Knox Brown
August 5, 2016
Jamaican-born, now full-fledged British citizen Knox Brown marches right into our ears with the choral hip-hop track ‘No Slaves’, and although the lyrics are split between Brown and .Paak, the lyrics do have something of value to offer. If you’re like me, have Genius open while you listen and read along.
‘Responsibilities’ by Thane feat. BJ The Chicago Kid
September 8, 2016
Fresh and up-and-coming Milwaukee producer Thane boasts jazzy and funky rhythms with his track ‘Responsibilities’, not to mention features from two very hot names in R&B. Thane’s debut EP Topia also features a track with Mick Jenkins, and flaunts a respectable twelve tracks. A quick preview of the EP from me resulted in a very impressed listener. Easily one to watch out for in the coming years.
‘Mission Road’ by Like
September 20, 2016
You may not recognize his name or his voice, but you may recognize his production credits. Like was actually behind the production on Malibu for “Room In Here’, that almost hip hop love ballad featuring The Game and Sonyae Elise. He also produced Kendrick Lamar’s “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst”, Ab-Soul’s “Just Have Fun”, and “BABYLON”, fresh off Joey Bada$$’s new record ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$. ‘Mission Road’ exhibits some very laid back hip-hop piano sounds and throbbing drums, and to my ears, sounds perfect for a rainy day indoors with your hot beverage of choice.
‘OooWee’ by Rapsody
November 16, 2016
After lending her bars to Malibu on “Without You”, .Paak returns the favour with velvety “ooo-wees” and smooth chorus vocals, while Rapsody (one of my favourite female rappers) serves up shady raps on a throwback-sounding hip-hop tune. You’ll want to be smoking for this one.
‘It Don’t Matter’ by Moonbase
Feburary 9, 2017
We’ve come through a full year, and this song is probably my least favourite on here, only because I feel it is a huge detachment from what .Paak’s sound excels at – smooth and funky R&B. This track, although solid in production, is a bit too aggressive for my taste. But if you ignore that it’s .Paak, overall it’s still a great song to work out or drive to.
‘New LA’ by SiR feat. King Mez
Feburary 10, 2017
I swear to god the last two tracks were released within a day of each other. This song samples Drake’s catchy “With You (feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR)” off of his 2016 centerpiece Views. Despite the familiar tune, the artists featured here deliver some very fun, animated raps all while maintaining airy vocals from .Paak and SiR. I highly recommend you check out SiR’s other work if you are looking for new R&B to arouse your ears.