Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Anderson.Paak is equal parts rapper and singer, and he shines in both regards on his latest release Malibu. This sixteen track project is a masterwork in R&B’s jazziest elements. Many of the lyrical themes throughout the album are reflective and there is very much a sense of a story being told from one track to the next. His background in gospel music imbues his music with a soulfulness usually omitted or denied in the rap genre. But Anderson.Paak only has one foot in rap, with his other in R&B, as well as a hand in jazz perhaps, and his hip-hop affluence can’t be denied either. His music is emotional and fascinatingly different. Malibu, his third studio album, certifies Anderson.Paak as a musical genius in his own right, a recognition that I believe to be long overdue.
Anderson.Paak combines live instruments and selective studio edits. His voice is naturally rhythmic and lives in the delicious post-modern space between singing and rapping. This void is currently to subject of experimentation by the likes of Chance the Rapper, Kendrick and even A Tribe Called Quest – that is, Anderson.Paak’s peers. Malibu is replete with earworm songs and fantastic musical arrangements. In truth, the whole album is worth your time. However, with no further ado, here are my favorite tracks off the album.
There are three songs that I still haven’t stopped listening to since their release at the end of last year. The first is slow and powerful and effortlessly jazzy first track ‘The Bird’. He sings the silky refrain “a bird with the word came to me, the sweetness of a honeycomb tree, and now my luck was taking over me, couldn’t fake it if I wanted to.” Equally poetic and artistically composed is the track ‘The Season/Carry Me’. On the refrain, his voice swells passionately with the words, “my faith is buried somewhere underneath the town, until it’s paid for, strawberry season, my sweetheart is comin’ round.”
Continuing in the same vain of lyrical wit and instrumental bliss, I love the track ‘Put Me Thru’. This, a faster paced track, has an almost Motown feel, cultivated by Anderson.Paak’s soaring and plunging vocals. He sings, ever composed and thoughtful, “why the hell would you run this game? Both my hands are tied, afraid of thinking I dug my own grave, fuck around with this, strange and elusive, too afraid to lose it.” My words simply can’t do this album justice. Rather, I suggest letting Malibu speak for itself, ideally through high-quality headphones. You won’t want to miss a single beat.