Anderson .Paak is a soul/hip-hop singer and producer who’s work has caught the ear of hip-hop listeners in the last year. I particularly enjoyed his work on Busdriver’s latest record, Thumbs. Aanderson’s new record, Malibu, is particularly impressive. It weaves together the musical sensibilities of soul and jazz, but with the personal, as well as social and political, commentary of hip-hop. This is an album full of powerful vocal performances from .Paak himself, who’s voice is smooth and incredibly expressive, as well as great rap verses from the likes of The Game and Rapsody. This is a record that simultaneously shoves its messages right in your face, whilst providing subtleties that make this album well worth returning to for multiple listens. The production on Malibu is just as striking as the vocal work. The piano motifs and guitar solo on ‘Heart Don’t Stand A Chance’ are particularly soulful, and the backing vocals here round out the sound effectively, but what really makes the production on this album special, is the way that the hip-hop beats and electronic ideas are so seamlessly integrated. The conversation samples that precede each track are rewarding glimpses at what the song that follows has to offer.
What Anderson .Paak has achieved with Malibu is the successful revival of soul music in a way that modern audiences can relate to. It might even be a way for fans of soul music to start getting into hip-hop. This is a powerful and honest project and is absolutely worth lots of your time.