With his extremely impressive album Malibu, Anderson .Paak has proven that R&B is still very much alive and well, and that it is still by and far one of music’s most dynamic genres.
Throughout 2015, it was almost as if Anderson .Paak left listeners a paper trail — one hinting at the fact that “Malibu” was going to be something extra special.
His name kept appearing on incredible features across some of hip hop’s most notable artists, perhaps most prominently on Dr. Dre’s “Compton,” where he had the most features out of any artist.
People can once again thank Dre for finding another up-and-coming hot and unique artist, albeit one without the mainstream marketability of Eminem or Kendrick Lamar.
.Paak has developed his own style of neo-soul where he half speaks and half sings, but the groove is always there and the music seems to flow right through him. .Paak truly channels his feelings throughout the entirety of the album, and as a result it maintains a consistent flow and each track feels perfectly placed.
What further sets this record apart from others is how personal this album is to .Paak. The opening track, “The Bird,” describes his disbelief that he has made it to this place in his life despite life’s setbacks. This may be a common idea for a track, especially in hip-hop, but his analogy of “the bird with the word” is too creative and introspective to feel anywhere near contrived.
Another standout track is “The Dreamer,” due to its strong feature from Talib Kweli. Kweli emphasizes the unity and themes of the album when he spits, “Yeah, this that music that you gotta feel, yeah, gave you the truth before I got a deal.” Kweli makes this track pop, not just because of his quality, but how well he is able to blend in and aid with the album’s cohesiveness.
Perhaps the best track is “Without You,” featuring the legendary female emcee Rapsody. It perfectly displays the record’s atmospheric beauty. There is a true element between the two and they both spit unreal verses and, of course, it only gets better after that.
The track closes with a syncopated section that is guaranteed to provoke excitement and expletives, and it is segments like these that keep the album fresh after every listen and leave the listener begging for more.
As a record, Malibu just makes sense. Everything falls into place and it is a neo-soul masterpiece of loose tracks. Anderson .Paak couldn’t have hit the funky nail on the head any better on Malibu.