After teasing three singles, West-Coast based singer Anderson .Paak released his fourth instalment, Oxnard on November 2018, starring a high-calibre list of artists including Snoop Dogg, J Cole, and Q.Tip. The on-point production palette allows Paak to explore the sunshine soul associated with his funky feel-good style.
The breakthrough of his critically acclaimed albums, primarily Venice and Malibu planted his name on the map back in 2016 which probably set the bar uncomfortably high. These albums, however, have a tendency to slightly lose direction whereas Oxnard fortunately maintains a distinct theme: Paak’s Californian hometown.
But the album does boast plenty of great highlights, the most phenomenal being the third single, ‘Tints’ with co-pilot Kendrick Lamar. “I’m tryna get some fresh air/ Hey, why you got the roof off, roof off/ You know it never rains here, Paak offers. The meditation on fame and desire for tinted windows that truly celebrates the Californian sunshine soul gets the album off to a flying start. Anderson approaches funk from a rap perspective but interweaves fresh echoes of Parliament-esque grooves.
Another unforgettable track is ‘Cheers’, assisted with verses from Dr Dre, Paak strikes an emotional chord as he describes the presence of his late friend Mac Miller as he finished the album. “I feel like he is here with me,” Anderson reminisces. “I feel like he is on this album. I needed some support and I felt he was with me to help me round this out.” ‘Trippy’ is an easy listen with a warm and lush tonal palette. Paak makes a stark yet endearing political statement in ‘6 Summers’ about the problems of today including Donald Trump and gun violence. “Dear Mr. President, it’s evident that you don’t give a damn.” Later tracks, like ‘Brother’s Keeper’ continue this stance against psychedelic guitar inflections and gospel echoes.
Then there’s ‘Sweet Chick’ (featuring BJ the Chicago Kid) which describes a series of Paak’s ex-girlfriends which is unfortunately hindered by the misogynistic and hyper-masculine undertones. “Got a skater bitch/ She a gamer gotta take her to arcades and shit”. He articulates this explicitly depicting the Los-Angeles’ hedonistic lifestyle.
But there are some peculiar moments too. The excitement plummets with the faux- Jamaican attempt at patois in ‘Left and Right’ but this mediocrity is forgivable as it’s a bonus track.
Oxnard glosses over a range of instrumentals from funk, neo-soul, RnB and even highlights of psychedelic guitar. The album picks up where Malibu left off and although this could have planted the bar distractingly high, .Paak still demonstrates his effortless creative bliss as well as his versatilities as a modern rapper legend committed to Californian feel-good funk.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/