Funk Excellence — Anderson .Paak’s ‘Oxnard’ Album
No other geographical reservoir in the world cultivates more sensual or saucy Funk music than the west coast, or more specifically, Los Angeles. The west coast has culled some of the most auspicious tones of Funk, Neo-Soul, and Hip-Hop throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century.
During Hip-Hop’s infancy, the west coast implanted the soul grooves of 1970’s Cincinnati and Chicago Funk music into the bouncing rhythms of breakbeat music. Toiled with acerbic storytelling and lyrical combating chivalry resulted in the commercial impetus of what created 1990’s Hip-Hop music, or the so-called “Golden Age” of the genre.
There are no other appropriate sounds for the simmering California Summer than the stringing guitars that seamlessly blend into the heat waves radiating upon the laid shards of broken windows and sparkling beaches. Much of the genre’s inspiration came from these sacrilege and mature grooves of the decade of Black pride and the celebration of Blaxploitation during the 1970s.
Through Hip-Hop’s translucent quality of reinventing itself through nearly any other genre, the grooves of the 1970s once again soared into notoriety once producers and artists collected vinyl to sample the product for their own material.
To this day, the same procedures are still being practiced, although through the medium of digital synchronicity. The likes of L.A. musical martyrs lend their hand into the traditional practice and manage to enhance the practice into modernized forms of sound quality and noise. As a result, the resurgence of Hip-Hop and Neo-Soul have been revamped into the new ears of today’s market.
One of the attributes to the revitalization is a recent accolade of Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label, Anderson Paak. Paak has been consistent with his material and refreshing with his musical choices. Paak was commercially introduced from Aftermath with his 2016 album, Malibu.
As the album garnered successful attention for the season, Paak became an essential drummer and overall artist to headline shows and support headlining musicians.
After Malibu allowed Paak’s auspicious figure to steadily increase, Paak approached another style of Hip-Hop with instrumental heathen Knxwledge of Stones Throw.
Their collaborative effort vivaciously titled Yes Lawd! was released during the same year, Paak became an imperative figure for contemporary artists to extend to for their works in creation. Paak had to become the extension of Hip-Hop’s sensual vulgarity and bouncing air grooves.
Compared to the likes of R&B group The Internet and impeccable bass Thundercat, Paak has been augmenting Hip-Hop’s modern experimentation with R&B and Neo-Soul details and flavors. The growling grooves and raunchy air riffs matched with rhymic drums compel the Hip-Hop tracks into a higher altitude unmatched before and after the reign of J Dilla.
Oxnard may have been one of the more ambitious teasing musical projects to come out this year, which adds to Paak’s immense credibility. The album, which features the industry’s giants such as Kendrick Lamar, Q-Tip, J. Cole, and Snoop Dogg, may have supplemented the album’s pervasive anticipation.
Through emphasized marketing and incessant social media exposure, Anderson Paak has been visible in the eye of the common music consumer.
Finally, Oxnard was released, ranking number one in the music charts and sold out physical copies from department stores to record shops. Oxnard was universally exalted by the anticipation of fans and satisfaction from music critics. From the day it was released, Paak had been headlining major music news sources and digital steaming marketing. Anderson Paak had gone from an underdog drummer to one of the essential stars of music for the esoteric listener.
Oxnard was released, showcasing fourteen tracks with major, contemporary artists and background musicians all culminated into a seamless, smooth transition between genres of popular Black music spanning from the past few generations.
Teasing this project a few weeks before was the star-studded single Tints featuring Kendrick Lamar. As the single manage to effectively amplify the ambition the project was foreshadowing, it only exposes a single element that the concoction has proved to contain.
Some of the most essential tracks in the album included the adorned two-parter track Smile/Petty, which features Stones Throw’s masterful pianist Kiefer.
The song starts out with Kiefer’s undulating chords engraved with a female chorus and Paak’s seemingly benighted but pleasurable, raspy hooks and lyricism. After the song transition from the smooth textures that Kiefer’s chords added, the second half treads into an increasing pace, embellished by Paak’s drums and snare routine.
Another highlight of the album is the jagged, airy track Anywhere, which features Snoop Dogg’s nonchalant attitude and Paak’s endearing lullaby. Both decorated by a production latently influenced by the voice and color of early 1990’s west coast Hip-Hop.
A track that matches Anywhere’s coolness but swerves into a more enchanting spell is the song Trippy, featuring a solidly meaningful verse from J. Cole.
As those three tracks settle album’s polished suave, the album is also colored by the pouncing and staunchly sounds of Earth, Wind, and Fire matched with celebratory Hip-Hop drums. The tracks that serve that battalion are the likes of Cheers, featuring Q-Tip, the simmering 6 Summers, and Mansa Musa, which features lyrical hubris from Dr. Dre and Cocoa Safari.
Each track on the album takes a different approach, extending the boundaries of the already fused genres mashed into several anthems and tributes to the west coast Summers. The album itself s hard to get sick of due to that reason. The plethora of instruments ventures into their own boundaries, expanding on the planes and dimensions that the album promised.
The sound of the west coast always held the potential to expand its musical hivemind. From the 1970s and 1980’s expansion of Blaxpotation noise to the noise of spark stones and glistening sand of Hip-Hop’s rapid evolution in the 1990s.
There is much anticipation for the west coast even to this day, due to the enclave of musical polymaths. Anderson Paak has only added to the timeline of evolved noise, as ambitious as this project is.
Along the west coast, Paak himself has proven himself in a matter of three years how much creative intellect is enveloped within the fibers of his creative fabric. Paak has bombastically exploited much of his potential in this album, but possibly, not all of it.