Anderson .Paak – Oxnard
Released November 16, 2018
After an unusually quiet year and a half, Anderson .Paak is back with his third solo studio album, the long-awaited Oxnard. Named after his hometown, this new project is a bit of a switch-up. Paak has dropped a couple verses in the past, but on Oxnard he has traded in his usual hip-hop-tinged R&B for soul-infused, funky rap music. Other than a few forgettable tracks towards the end, it pays off very well throughout the album.
Paak sets the tone with some jams to start the album, like the smooth, vibey “Tints,” released as a single featuring Kendrick Lamar. He follows it up with “Who R U?,” a straight rap banger, and even focuses heavily on the current political climate with “6 Summers,” a song going in depth about Trump’s possible reelection and gun reform. “6 Summers” does make some good points, even if it takes a bit longer to make said points. I have to give an honorable mention to the masterpiece “Headlow,” a half-skit half-song about getting into a car crash while receiving road head. “Saviers Road” and “Mansa Musa” were other especially good listens.
None of the tracks on Oxnard are explicitly bad, except for the outro “Left To Right,” which is just too weird and reminiscent of a congo line for me to get behind it. However, the track “Trippy” was bland and J Cole’s verse was forgettable as usual. Near the end is the track “Sweet Chick” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid, which pushes Anderson’s lyrical ‘tongue-in-cheekness’ to its limit with Anderson listing the various types of women he is with, until he is ratted out at the end of the song by presumably his fictional significant other for making all these claims. This is the most egregious example, but similar lyrical themes are peppered throughout the album, and sounded a little immature for 32-year-old Paak.
Overall, this was a great listen and a good step for Anderson .Paak’s ever-growing discography. I’m excited as always for what he does next.