The past year has been a whirlwind for Anderson .Paak. After appearing on Dr. Dre's 2015 Compton album, it seems things have not slowed down. Joining up with west coast producer Knxwledge, he released a short EP at the end of last year called Link up & Suede under the moniker NxWorries. This was outstanding news for those of us who also happened to be following Knxwledge's constant flow of beats. Check out his Bandcamp if you need a reference. There's enough there to keep busy with for days.
A month later, .Paak dropped Malibu which has consistently been on the R&B charts and flying off shelves in stores everywhere. He then signed on to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment label and has steadily been playing shows all year, reaching over 50 gigs just between June and August.
All this, of course, while casually dropping another NxWorries album on Stones Throw records. This time they didn't leave us hanging though, releasing a solid 19 track full length titled Yes Lawd! Honestly, the first thing to say about this album is exactly that – Yes Lawd!
.Paak blends his singing and rapping so effortlessly in a way that doesn't seem like it's been done before. A lot of times it appears difficult to walk on that line between R&B and rap without something getting watered down. Fortunately, between Knxwledge's smooth and jazzy R&B production, and .Paak's ridiculous amount of vocal talent, nothing here sounds stale.
“Sidepiece” and “Livvin” show off .Paak's more soulful, crooning side while “Scared Money” is almost a groovy roller-skating rink R&B throwback. Of course “Link Up” and “Suede” from the aforementioned debut EP makes a re-appearance, showcasing the group's trademark mix of rapping and singing. The darker, more upbeat production on “Best One” plays out like Knxwledge has spent plenty of time listening to label mates Madlib & MF DOOM's Madvillainy LP.
Overall, the whole album isn't simply one thing. It's not a Soul album. It's not a Rap album. It's a NxWorries album, which we now know is a beautiful thing. Hopefully we'll see a lot more of them in the future – that is, if .Paak can find the time. It wouldn't be surprising to see that Aftermath album he owes the Dr. come out before next summer.