14 Songs, 56 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Oxnard is the name of the Southern California city Anderson .Paak grew up in, but the album isn’t really a nostalgic look back at the singer/rapper’s origins. “This album is bringing the things that I’ve learned from going out and experiencing life outside of my comfort zone and outside of my natural habitat,” he tells Apple Music. “I had to leave and go into the bigger city, into the world, and learn all these things, and now I’m bringing it back to my home front.”

Since dropping the highly acclaimed Malibu in 2016, .Paak has basically stayed on the road, touring the world a few times over before buckling down to complete his third offering since changing his name from the exponentially cheekier Breezy Lovejoy. As .Paak, he was coming off a star turn as a featured artist on Dr. Dre’s 2015 album, Compton, when Malibu established him as one of the most original voices in popular music. With Oxnard, though, the challenge came in breaking from that norm.

“Sometimes we would have a good record, but it was like, ‘I’ve said this,’” .Paak says. “‘I don’t need to talk about how good the p*ssy is five times. What else should we say that I’m going through?’” The most striking answer comes in the form of “6 Summers,” a protest song in two parts: the first, funky resilience; the second, a smooth and steely rumination on American politics. Throughout the track, .Paak calls out President Donald Trump by name, addressing immigration, gun control, and the anxiety a large part of the population feels whenever the commander-in-chief tweets.

Still, Oxnard is all of the feel-good vibes and upper-echelon hip-hop flows that fans have come to expect, with a plethora of musical influences to boot. Blaxploitation-era guitar strums and flute spurts power album opener “The Chase.” Dramatic strings and bass-drum hits set the table for a particularly venomous Pusha T verse on “Brother’s Keeper.” .Paak himself rhymes in patois on “Left to Right.” The album also draws out vintage rhyme performances from kindred OG spirits Snoop Dogg (“Anywhere”) and mentor Dr. Dre (“Mansa Musa”). There’s a lot to digest, but in .Paak’s own words, his mission with Oxnard is to release an album that touches all corners of the culture from which he comes. “I want the cuts that they’re going to play in the barbershop, the cuts that the pretty girls are going to play while they’re putting on their makeup,” .Paak says. “I want the hoods to love it.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Oxnard is the name of the Southern California city Anderson .Paak grew up in, but the album isn’t really a nostalgic look back at the singer/rapper’s origins. “This album is bringing the things that I’ve learned from going out and experiencing life outside of my comfort zone and outside of my natural habitat,” he tells Apple Music. “I had to leave and go into the bigger city, into the world, and learn all these things, and now I’m bringing it back to my home front.”

Since dropping the highly acclaimed Malibu in 2016, .Paak has basically stayed on the road, touring the world a few times over before buckling down to complete his third offering since changing his name from the exponentially cheekier Breezy Lovejoy. As .Paak, he was coming off a star turn as a featured artist on Dr. Dre’s 2015 album, Compton, when Malibu established him as one of the most original voices in popular music. With Oxnard, though, the challenge came in breaking from that norm.

“Sometimes we would have a good record, but it was like, ‘I’ve said this,’” .Paak says. “‘I don’t need to talk about how good the p*ssy is five times. What else should we say that I’m going through?’” The most striking answer comes in the form of “6 Summers,” a protest song in two parts: the first, funky resilience; the second, a smooth and steely rumination on American politics. Throughout the track, .Paak calls out President Donald Trump by name, addressing immigration, gun control, and the anxiety a large part of the population feels whenever the commander-in-chief tweets.

Still, Oxnard is all of the feel-good vibes and upper-echelon hip-hop flows that fans have come to expect, with a plethora of musical influences to boot. Blaxploitation-era guitar strums and flute spurts power album opener “The Chase.” Dramatic strings and bass-drum hits set the table for a particularly venomous Pusha T verse on “Brother’s Keeper.” .Paak himself rhymes in patois on “Left to Right.” The album also draws out vintage rhyme performances from kindred OG spirits Snoop Dogg (“Anywhere”) and mentor Dr. Dre (“Mansa Musa”). There’s a lot to digest, but in .Paak’s own words, his mission with Oxnard is to release an album that touches all corners of the culture from which he comes. “I want the cuts that they’re going to play in the barbershop, the cuts that the pretty girls are going to play while they’re putting on their makeup,” .Paak says. “I want the hoods to love it.”

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About Anderson .Paak

Here’s one about the reversal of fortune: In 2011, Anderson .Paak was jobless, homeless, the worried father of a new baby boy; by 2015, he was in the studio with Dr. Dre. Raised in the Southern California community of Oxnard, an hour's drive northwest of LA, .Paak (born Brandon Paak Anderson in 1986) started out as a teenage drummer in his Baptist church—a communal experience that, along with his mother blasting old R&B as she drove the kids around on calls for her produce business, shaped his sense of music for years to come. After staking out his sound on a handful of indie projects (first as Breezy Lovejoy, then as Anderson .Paak), he broke through on Dre’s Compton, cowriting and singing on nearly half the album’s tracks, leveraging a sound both mellow and hard-bitten, lived-in but fresh. (As the story goes, Compton’s brain trust had been playing 2015’s “Suede” by NxWorries, .Paak's collaborative project with the producer Knxwledge, on repeat.) Featuring collaborators from jazz pianist Robert Glasper to The Game, the Grammy-nominated Malibu arrived at the top of 2016; Oxnard followed in late 2018. Like a lot of figures on LA’s highly adventurous hip-hop scene (including underground heroes like Flying Lotus and Thundercat, but also Kendrick Lamar), .Paak feels both like a throwback and a sign of things to come: an omnivorous, self-producing singer-songwriter à la Stevie Wonder, whose vision envelops everything from ’60s soul to ’00s trap—not just a personal style, but a summary of black music as .Paak has experienced it. Talking to Beats 1 host Zane Lowe about recapturing the vibe of Southern California, .Paak said, “We used to have a real sound, and we just wanna bring that back. That’s what [Oxnard] feels like: sunshine, good weather, beautiful women, great food, then at night—you know, the freaks.”

HOMETOWN
Oxnard, CA
BORN
08 February 1986

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