“Unconventional,” “individualistic,” and “one-of-a-kind” are just a few of the words that come to mind when one thinks of the young phenom known as Anderson .Paak. Released on November 16th, Paak’s third studio album, Oxnard follows his 2016 sophomore album, Malibu, and 2014’s debut album, Venice. The record also stands on its own as Andy’s first album on Dr. Dre’s “Aftermath Entertainment” label. Just a little under an hour, Oxnard contains 14 songs and features the talents of industry veterans such as Dr. Dre, Uncle Snoop D. O. double G, J.Cole, and Q-Tip. Oxnard is such a vivid project containing so many various elements that essentially, it is easy to lose yourself in the experience of it all. If you’re looking for the usual, subpar, mumble rap that has become the norm for Hip-Hop, this is not the album for you.
Whether you are a new listener or have been following Anderson for years, one thing listeners immediately pick up about Andy is his love and appreciation for where he’s from: California. Paak is no stranger for putting on for the Westside. Through flawless instrumentation, theatrical delivery and solid execution, Oxnard (which is actually named after his hometown of Oxnard, California) continues this same pattern and theme of the previous albums that places an emphasis on the Westside style of rap/way of life. “The Chase” infuses today’s lyricism with such a nostalgic, funkadelic production that instantly transports listeners in time to the days of George Clinton, Parliament and the Mothership Connection. Subtly switching from singing and rapping, Anderson does a solid job showcasing the incredible versatility he possesses.
“Headlow” humorously recounts a time where Andy receives oral pleasure from a woman on the I-9 freeway. “This lady is giving head, on I-95, at the toll,” the song begins. Continuing the psychedelic, funky theme (that is felt throughout the entire project), Anderson comically tells this wild yet vivid story of this encounter. “Just keep your head low,” Anderson repeatedly says on the track as a play on the phrase, “keep your head high.” The song is very… descriptive and contains a very cinematic delivery. Listeners can literally envision the moment as if they were there.
The song is followed by Oxnard’s lead single, the Kendrick Lamar-assisted “Tints.” The order in which the song follows is somewhat ironic and funny because he sings about oral stimulation in the previous songs and then follows with the need for tints on his vehicle. Anderson provides the vibe while Kendrick does…. well what Kendrick always does. He delivers and a very upbeat, fun appeal, this track is definitely a summertime vibe.
Oxnard’s second single, “Who R U?” is one of the top tracks on the album simply due to Anderson’s bravado on the record. Backed by Dr. Dre’s ad-libs and vocals, Anderson gets all the way into his bag and unapologetically talks his trash with no hesitation to back it up. He knows what he brings to the table and he is ready to show it in its full glory. He and Dre question the rest of the industry asking, “Who are you all? We don’t know you.” He even takes some quick jabs at today’s “Hip-Hop,” as he raps,
“New enemies, they bringing my old ways back / Back in my day woulda had your whole face smacked
Look at you n***as, wonder why I f****ng hate rap
Ooh, what make you wanna go and say that? (You)”
“6 Summers” does just that and more, stands as the album’s most politically charged song. Andy trolls our current President with beginning lines such as “Trump’s got a lovechild and I hope that bi*** is buck wild. I hope she sips mezcal, I hope she kiss señoritas and black gals, I hope her momma’s El Sav, I hope her poppa stay around.” Anderson declares that the track is going to “bang” for at least six summers representing the end of the President’s final term (if he is elected again). He continues shouting, “But ain’t sh*t goin’ to change for at least 3 summers.” Three summers from now will mark the end of the President’s first term and possibly his final term if he is voted out of office. Anderson uses his platform to amusingly yet seriously speak on the topics of reform, gun control and change.
The second half of Oxnard continues to bring the funk as we find Andy singing about his smile and “petty b****es” who stress his mother and puts dents in his Pontiac in “Smile/Petty.” The song conveys such an evident Outkast aesthetic and is one of the most memorable tracks. Both Cole and Push both deliver memorable verses on their respective tracks, “Trippy” and “Brother’s Keeper.” Their verses attempt to steal the show, but Anderson proves he can hang with the best of them adding the melodic choruses and verses.
“Anywhere” channels the most trademark Cali vibe than any song on the album. Uncle Snoop hops on and blesses the record with that OG Westside appeal we have associated with him for years. The Doggfather even pays tribute to Nate Dogg and Warren G. It is a favorite on the album because of the nostalgia that it delivers. The production radiates vintage R&B feels as Anderson brings the sensuality, suaveness and smooth playa appeal with the sample of One Way’s 1982 hit, “Cutie Pie.”
“Cheers” is an ironic song that while is meant to be celebratory still focuses on the sorrow, tribulations and pain associated with this life Andy has been given. He reflects on the music industry and even life of his very close friend and collaborator, the late Mac Miller. The track’s featured artist, Q-Tip, on the other hand, reminisces on his friend and former member of “A Tribe Called Quest,” Phife Dawg.
The last standout, “Sweet Chick,” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid finds the two reflecting but this time on all of the women they have encountered in their lives. Here, Paak yet again showcases that raw imagery as he talks about laying peen to a “skater b****” who enjoys anime. He holds nothing back and says what he wants, exactly how he wants, which makes him very relatable to many of his listeners. The song is actually very comical listening to Paak & BJ describe all the various types women they have dealt with. It makes for an engaging story and a great song.
Oxnard’s Top Songs:
- Who R U?
- Sweet Chick
- 6 Summers
- Mansa Musa
Anyone can rap about women, fly outfits and foreign cars, but Andy really possesses such a rare substance unlike anyone else in the game. While very laid back and relaxed, Oxnard still delivers the bars, lyricism and storytelling aesthetic that I love. It is clever and extremely bold. Although considered a fairly new artist, this young Californian native has already proven the quality of his pen and skill. He sings, raps, drums and creates pure art in his work. Andy breaks any and every box that society tries to place him in. Anderson .Paak definitely a timeless artist and Oxnard showcases that with ease.