Although Anderson Paak has been on the scene for a while, the spotlight has only recently graced his presence. After his early neo soul projects as Breezy Lovejoy, Paak released his first full length album Venice in 2014. Despite the album’s success, Paak flew under mainstream hip-hop’s radar while picking up features with scene specific artists like Jonwayne, and Busdriver. It wasn’t until Paak was featured alongside Kendrick Lamar and Dr. Dre on Dre’s newest album Compton that Paak began to achieve Mainstream attention.
With the attention of the music industry, Paak used the success he achieved from his features on Compton to slingshot his release of Malibu, a 16 track project that clocks in at just over an hour. While Paak has consistently released crowd pleasing high energy tracks, he has always trended towards neo soul, a stylistic trait he chose to highlight on Malibu. Paak’s Soul-centric sound gives Malibu a polished groove that carries the album through the heavy,sentimental, and often autobiographical lyrics, without letting the songs drag.
Malibu is everything it needed to be, however I found myself let down. Although the album is packed with funk and groove, the grit that attracted me to Paak’s voice initially has been cleaned up in Malibu. The rough edges Paak displayed on Venice and Greenlight(Jonwayne) have been sanded into a smooth album that functions more as a commercial breakthrough than a musical manifesto. Despite the lack of tongue and cheek trap bangers, Malibu remains a breakthrough for Paak and the hip-hop scene. I’d recommend Malibu to anyone who enjoys the funkier side of Kendrick, the harder side of Jamiroquai, or the rougher side of any 50s west coast soul.
Favorite Tracks: The Bird, Come Down, Without You, and Heart Don’t Stand a Chance.
Release Date: January 15, 2016
Reviewer: Pete Sheehy
Review Date: 2/14/16