Anderson .Paak, formerly known professionally as Breezy Lovejoy, was a struggling singer/songwriter/producer from Oxnard, California. In 2016, Anderson.Paak, is a singer on the verge ever since his song with producer, Knxwledge, “Suede” landed in the ears of the prolific Dr. Dre.  From there, he made several outstanding appearances on the Aftermath CEO’s final studio album, Compton. Since then, anticipation has built for the new voice in a genre that has been plagued by redundant sounds and songs. With each new song I heard on Anderson. Paak’s Soundcloud, I was ready to crown Malibu the best R&B album of 2016 unless Frank Ocean crawls from beneath a rock. Let’s see if this album can live up to my expectations and the bar it set for itself.

Malibu

1. The Bird
Produced by Anderson .Paak
Our welcoming track is an introduction to Anderson .Paak’s family life, a nice departure from contemporary R&B singers’ to focus on their relationship with girlfriends:

I’m repping for the longest cycle, mmm
My uncles had to pay the cost, mmm
My sister used to sing to Whitney, mmm
My mama caught the gambling bug, mmm
We came up in a lonely castle, mmm
My papa was behind them bars, mmm
We never had to want for nothing, mmm
Said all we ever need is love, mmm

Off to a great start with the production on this one, the self produced song, could let the guitar on here sing the blues for him.

2. Heart Don’t Stand A Chance
Produced by DJ Khalil
I keep coming back to thing song to find something to write about, but it just doesn’t stand out to me in any way. It’s a good song and I don’t want to call it filler, but “Heart Don’t Stand A Chance” is a song I’m going to skip when I listen to this album again after the review.

3. The Waters
Featuring BJ The Chicago Kid; Produced by Madlib
After the first soundbite on the album to help invoke the theme of the album, we get our first collaboration. How do you not expect greatness from a song with two of R&B biggest rising stars? Anderson chooses to rap (Not a bad choice) for the majority of this song while BJ leads the choir on this testimonial. #TheStruggle. There’s something funny about Anderson admitting that his older sister still claims him on her taxes. We’re just all trying to make it through the waters, our star has to worry about balancing a successful professional life with a happy private life.

4. The Season/Carry Me
Produced by 9th Wonder & Callum
I don’t know how, but he makes this dark toned song sound happy. This song sums up his position in the music industry  and contains one of my favorite lines about celebrity culture:

Went from playing community ball to balling with the majors
(Oh, what you major?)
Yeah n!##a I ran bases, pitch flame
I call plays, remove labels
And fuck fame, that killed all my favorite entertainers

It’s Paak season as the fruits of his labor finally come to fruition, the beat switch up two minutes in to pay respect to his departed mother is crazy. There are several moments on this album where one song ends and the next song follows immediately with barely a second of silence or buildup, just blending into each other perfeclty.

5. Put Me Thru
Produced by Anderson .Paak
They try to break him, but they won’t. I hear Stevie Wonder’s late 60’s and 70’s influence on this record. There’s a lot of time hopping on the sounds on this album, but it’s more contributing to an era than sampling.

6. Am I Wrong
Featuring ScHoolboy Q; Produced by POMO
I can’t wait to see this performed live. This is what I expect to hear on Adult Contemporary R&B stations. While I applaud Schoolboy Q for going out of his comfort zone similar to when he recorded a verse for Disclosure’s “Latch”, this right here ain’t it. The funk inspired jam that I can play for my aunts this summer during the barbecue can stand alone without its guest feature.

7. Without You
Featuring Rapsody; Produced by 9th Wonder
“Without You” is a nice song about Paak telling his significant other about how much she means to him. I was thinking about playing this album for my Mom, but our second feature verse from a rapper kills that idea. Rapsody is the the female of the song that does not fall for Paak’s weak attempts at being on her good side and contemplates the benefits of being without him. I don’t know who pissed off Rapsody, but in her verse she launches F-Bombs at them and they are direct hits.

You know you wrong, shit you out of pocket
Remember you was couch surfin’, you ain’t have a casa
And mi casa, I would buy you shoes from out the locker
And even though I heard around the town from all the gossip
Between they legs, and slidin’ limousines in garages
Heard your mama cheated on ya daddy, you just like her
Come-a-come around, remember what happened to Tiger
Game over, dead wrong, Biggie Wallace
I was the one you counted on before you stacked your wallets
Talkin’ ’bout me, motherfucker you the one with problems
Haha, you played yourself for a photo, but you ain’t know though
I only took from n!##as trying to slide up in the DM
And show them I was happy with the n!##a I was seein’
But you fucked up stupid, so I guess I’ll go and see ’em
As you contemplate how to get me back like Liam
No fuckin’ tonight, I’ll be gone by the PM

8. Parking Lot
Produced by Anderson .Paak
ZONE OUT MUSIC! After that messy break up, we are back to grooving out to the music.

9. Lite Weight
Featuring The Free Nationals United Fellowship Choir; Produced by Kaytranada
It’s not fair, between these last two songs, I can’t think of a single lyric Anderson sings, I’m distracted by the production.

Paak

10. Room In Here
Featuring The Game & Sonyae; Produced by Like
THIS HAS TO BE A SINGLE! Uptempo production, but not too turnt, it’s a love song, and it has a guest verse from a rapper that fits the song. The Game was a perfect choice for this song, he skates over the production and delivers his verse (Not A Single Namedrop!) effortlessly:

She had a bright smile, big white teeth, I mean
Whiter than a white T, remind me of wifey
Met her at the studio, sort of like a high buyer
She told me she had game so we connected like the wifi
She had this Asian swagger ‘bout her, so I call her mai tai
Started followin’ her, she was the only thing on my timeline
And there was this one picture, her in the swimsuit
That made a n!##a want to beat it up, and I intend to
But I’mma have to put in work, baby girl then drink it all
Face like Mona Lisa, I’m just tryna be the wall to hang on
I ain’t got no patience, I can’t wait long
She come and see me, but she don’t stay long
And that’s the problem, she a good girl
Maybe it’s too much smoke in the room
And she don’t want that Mary Jane in her Vidal Sassoon
So I’mma take a minute, and walk her to her Uber
Got a bullet in my heart, and she the shooter

Is calling an Asian girl Mai Tai racist? Anyway, while I do miss Pac Div, Like, one-third of the Inglewood, California trio, has become the producer that keeps surprising me with his skills behind the board. I want to hear this in a Jazz lounge on repeat. Late night talk shows, I need to see Paak perform this live with a band on my TV screen before I go to bed (Let’s be honest, I watch all late night performances on YouTube the next day) immediately.

11. Water Fall (Interluuube)
Produced by Dave & The Drumhedz
This is where the album takes a X-rated turn. (Look at the title. ha ha) The production really reminds me of Floetry’s “Say Yes” so much.

12. Your Prime
Produced by DJ Khalil
“Your Prime” is a song about a college with problems. She’s trying to find what/where is her place in the world. Unfortunately, she has no idea that this is the time of her life.

13. Come Down
Produced by Hi-Tek
Hi-Tek? Where he been? This track hits speakers and headphones/earbuds HARD with the drums. The man of the party is not happy with his guests and their antics.

Now you, drank up all my liquor, come on
What I’m ‘posed to do now?
And you talkin’ all that shit, now come on
You gonna have to back it up
If I get too high now, sugar, come on
I might never come down
You know I might never come down
Let me get down
You might not never come down
Now let me come down
You might not never come down
Let me get down!

Hey, Rapsody, this is how you are supposed to sound angry on an Anderson. Paak album.

14. Silicon Valley
Produced by Dem Jointz
Oh No! Did the girl from “Your Prime” chose wrongly in her attempt to find happiness? “What’s behind them tig ol’ bitties”? The philosophical question to why women choose cosmetic surgery. If I didn’t know any better I would think that Sisqo made the transition from his fascination with thongs onto breasts. Arguably, this Dru-Hill influenced sounding song might be my favorite song on the album.

The last verse features a conversation between him and the breast augmentation recipient that makes the song even more entertaining if you can believe it.

You can get a new rack for five k
You can get a rapper by Friday
You gon’ have to replace being cheapskate, just save it
Can a n!##a squeeze or should I just be safe
(Her: Yeah for-sure) Tell me what it reads on the expiration date
(Her: Well I just got them, should be good for about ten years or so)
I know you feel the D when a n!##a deep in the hole
But do you feel the peace when I’m sucking them, baby doll?
(Her: Can you fuck me already?)

Tender-titty meat, little berries, etc. Anderson has many nicknames and no shame for his infatuation with the top anatomy of women. No judgment from me.

15. Celebrate
Produced by Anderson .Paak
Back to grooving. I love that Anderson has the ability to make his music sound like it came straight from a different decade, but he still has a contemporary style in his voice. I picture this playing before/during the end credits of any movie based in the 70’s. We made it through the rough tidal waves and are now partying on the sands of Malibu around a bonfire.

16. The Dreamer
Featuring Talib Kweli & Timan Family Choir; Produced by Callum Connor
Bring in the little kids; we got to sing an inspirational song to end the album. It’s a good ending, but doesn’t really end on a high note. The hook is the only thing I take from this song. Sorry Talib, loved your Black Panthers reference though:

This one’s for all the little dreamers
And the ones who never gave a fuck
I’m a product of the tube and the free lunch
Living room, watching old reruns
And who cares your daddy couldn’t be here?
Mama always kept the cable on
I’m a product of the tube and the free lunch
Living room, watching old reruns.

BOTTOM LINE

So this is what it looks like when an innovative upstart has better resources. With bigger name features and producers, Malibu is actually a step above the previous offering Venice in quality. As someone that spent a week vacationing in Venice last summer, I can say that the beach area has an independent, affordable lifestyle with a bohemian feel to it (S/O to Venice born Zoe Kravitz!) and that feeling was captured on Paak’s last album. When I think of Malibu, wealth and carefree lifestyle comes to mind. Social commentary of B-Rad’s hood resides on songs like “The Season”, “Silicon Valley”, and “Come Down”. I can’t help, but think there’s something missing here.

Malibu is not a linear storyline like I hoped. I thought that when we opened with “The Bird”, that was the Oxnard, California singer staring at the beach from his new home watching the birds fly from there we would get a story about his mindstate now and before his success ending with “The Dreamer”, where he goes to sleep and dreams of a bigger lifestyle that we will hear next time on an album that I’m guessing will be called Los Angeles featuring his Compton collaborators and neighbors Dr. Dre and Kendrick Lamar.

Somewhere on Malibu we got off the track and besides the first, last and one before “Room In Here”, none of the soundbites added anything to the album for me. Like I said, I will be hitting the skip button on a couple of songs, but I dare not to delete any of them. This an 2016 R&B album infused with  Soul and Funk of yesteryear without  pandering nostalgia. No Trap or Pop, just depth in the lyrics with personal stories and opinions.Yes, Lord!

rating-3.5-a-bigger

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