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‘Oxnard’ rises with Anderson .Paak’s energy

Latest album misses mark on politics, extends .Paak’s signature charisma with danceable, groovy tracks

Anderson .Paak, who performed at Brown last year during Spring Weekend, recently released his third studio album, “Oxnard.” It is a fresh and upbeat follow-up to “Malibu,” released two years prior.

.Paak is a distinctive and promising voice in neo-soul and West Coast hip hop music. His new album follows the musical style of its predecessors, carrying with it the artist’s high energy and charisma toward which fans have long gravitated.

The album’s title refers to .Paak’s hometown in California and follows the trend of previous albums also titled after locations significant to him.  “When you go everywhere, you just hold on to the things that made you, you. And honestly, it’s the last phase of this beach series. You know, we went to Venice, we went to Malibu, so it’s only right that we take it to the next place, up the coast, up to the next beach,” .Paak explained in an interview with Rolling Stone.

The song “6 Summers” takes on a political tone as it attempts to address current issues in the United States. “Every day, there’s a new situation that’s going on,” .Paak said in an interview with National Public Radio. “So I had to write about it.” Though .Paak may have been ambitious with his political critique, the lyrics of “6 Summers” lack both depth and subtlety.

In the song, the artist references President Trump’s alleged illegitimate child: “Trump’s got a love child and I hope that bitch is buckwild.” .Paak artlessly plays on the child’s identity and expresses his hope that she grows up to be someone Trump would not be able to like.

“This shit gon’ bang at least six summers,” .Paak sings. The line refers to the longevity of .Paak’s music, and at the same time, alludes to gun violence in present-day America. “But ain’t shit gon’ change for at least three summers,” he continues, referencing the length of the current presidential term.

Though .Paak’s political commentary falls flat, he succeeds elsewhere in the album. “Oxnard” is at its best when .Paak shows off his versatility and energy.

The album has moments filled with .Paak’s characteristic charisma. In “Mansa Mua,” featuring Dr. Dre and Cocoa Sarai, the album spikes in dynamism. This track is a danceable and fast-paced burst of energy and style, followed by “Brother’s Keeper,” which features Pusha T. and is a well-layered track that shuffles between different tempos and styles.

“Tints,” a collaboration between .Paak and Kendrick Lamar, was released as a single before the rest of the album. Musically, the track is groovy and fun. It speaks about .Paak’s experience with fame: “I can’t be ridin’ round and round that open strip / I need tints (windows tinted) / I need tints (I need my windows tinted).”

.Paak further demonstrates his versatility in “Smile/Petty,” which is split into two segments. The track kicks up midway with instrumental and stylistic changes, allowing him to intersperse different vibes into one song.

Overall, “Oxnard” came with more highs than lows. Well-synthesized, energetic and dynamic, it does not leave listeners looking for .Paak’s signature style and personality.



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