NxWorries (Anderson.Paak and Knxwledge) - Yes Lawd!

NxWorries (Anderson.Paak and Knxwledge)
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If hearing the “N” word and f-bombs in your classic R&B/funk bothers you, then you should just skip this album and review. If you can deal as long as the songs are engaging the way '90s hip hop was engaging and the music fun and melodic in an old school groove kind of way, then this is the album for you. And, of course, you should keep reading. Having already released the impeccable Malibu project at the top of the year, Anderson.Paak (formerly known as Breezy Lovejoy) is having the best year of his creative life. Both brilliantly produced albums pay a serious nod to cinematic ‘70s funk and R&B grooves and overlay it with R&B passions and hip hop soul stories sung in a pure, raspy funk voice. Collectively, .Paak’s music paints a portrait of a young artist at his peak powers, even as this collaboration with beat master, Knxwledge, does better to illustrate why Dr.

If hearing the “N” word and f-bombs in your classic R&B/funk bothers you, then you should just skip this album and review. If you can deal as long as the songs are engaging the way '90s hip hop was engaging and the music fun and melodic in an old school groove kind of way, then this is the album for you. And, of course, you should keep reading. Having already released the impeccable Malibu project at the top of the year, Anderson.Paak (formerly known as Breezy Lovejoy) is having the best year of his creative life. Both brilliantly produced albums pay a serious nod to cinematic ‘70s funk and R&B grooves and overlay it with R&B passions and hip hop soul stories sung in a pure, raspy funk voice. Collectively, .Paak’s music paints a portrait of a young artist at his peak powers, even as this collaboration with beat master, Knxwledge, does better to illustrate why Dr. Dre would sign the former indie artist to a major label deal through his hip hop focused Aftermath imprint. The sublime Yes Lawd! is a fitting bookend for a year that musically started and now ends with all things Anderson.Paak.

Now while .Paak has a potty mouth, his hip hop soul confections are actually about real life experiences and familiar feelings, usually about love and relationships. He also has a gift for softening the blow of his coarse language through tone and humor, his delivery seductive and around-the-way casual. At times it’s a little bit like hearing Curtis Mayfield spit rhymes and sing-talking in melody. On cuts like “Livvin,” “Kutless,” “Sidepiece” and “What More Can I Say,” his vocals are cream against Blaxploitation-era sonic compositions. He’s brasher against a wash of strings, bass, and percussion, where he’s the rapper deluxe on slice of life cuts like “Get Bigger/Do U Luv.” Each of the songs are short, averaging two minutes or so each, and transition before you can get bored, offended, or both. Songs like “Suede,” where he tries to explain away the use of offensive terms, make one grateful that some of the cuts are brief—charm and melody only takes one so far.

The project’s soulful funk is L.A. funk of the low rider variety. Much of Yes Lawd! is just as at home in a bouncing Cutlass showboating along the boulevard as it would be for an intimate night for two with cheap wine and blue lights. The sounds are the selling point: doo wop harmonies, sustained notes, church and street equally represented on the same cut, soul and rap intermingling in a tension dance, all of it drenched in the familiar tropes and glory of working class Blackness, and that’s just “Starlite.” Anderson.Paak and Knxwledge play by no rules and somehow make some of the sexiest, funkiest, rawest, most masculine hybrid R&B/soul of the year. Their vibrant and chill songs are for the hood players and the ‘round-the-way chicks, each shouting “that’s my jam!” Lyrically, it’s hood music for the now while musically it’s the hood music of your parents’ generation. On cuts like “Another Time,” the marriage feels somehow as honest as it is musical.

Between the twin triumphs of Malibu and Yes Lawd!, it is clearly Anderson.Paak’s time in the sun. We’re just glad to be here to bask in its Southern Cali glow. Highly Recommended.

By L. Michael Gipson

 

 
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