Remember the Chi and Motown soul of the 1960s—bands like The Impressions and The Temptations? Remember blacksploitation soul of the 1970s, like Shaft and Across 110th Street? I do. I love that music. Which makes me the target market for Anderson Paak’s new album.
Paak deftly tells stories of growing up poor and black, mixing rap’s street sensibilities with groove, funk, and a fabulous voice. He’s genre jumping in the spirit of Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar.
He also calls on guest rappers—The Game, Schoolboy Q, and Talib Kweli are the standouts—with perfect timing. He’s not just hiring someone to spit bars (Paak can do that himself), he’s choosing his guests with precision and care. We’ve been grooving for half the album before The Game’s raw and rough voice comes in, just add some texture to what had up to his appearance been a smooth ride. Anderson had done a fine job rapping the song “Without You,” but when Rapsody’s voice comes in she breaks up the song with raw profanity and power.
Truly a fantastic record.