Brandon Park Anderson, a.k.a., Anderson .Paak, had quite a year in 2015. Coming from producing Watsky records to appearing on 6 of the 16 tracks off of Dr. Dre’s Compton and 2 tracks off of The Game’s The Documentary 2, the icing on top of the cake comes with the release of Malibu, his sophomore record. Much like the feeling of running through the finish line tape, Anderson .Paak’s Malibu feels like that celebratory end to a great sprint and rising fame. Smooth, raw, and with a groove, Malibu holds tons of influence reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, right down to the production style and lyrical delivery.
As Marcus J. Moore of Pitchfork put it, “much like Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak skillfully depicts his surroundings while remaining in the foreground.” Malibu has kind of a love-preacher vibe to it, with the record’s themes consisting of a mix of r&b seduction in the setting of church gospel. The idea is even present in the album cover, with .Paak playing piano as the waves crash around him, wearing that r&b-preacher-type outfit getting less and less formal from his hat on down. Malibu sounds like Kendrick Lamar & Bilal’s, “These Walls,” off of To Pimp A Butterfly is his favorite song of all time; in fact Bilal and Kendrick might even be his idols. The inspiration is honestly all over this record, which in my book is nothing to complain about. Malibu is crazy good.
The record has incredible groove, and makes the post To Pimp A Butterfly music world seem insanely exciting. Anderson aside, there’s great featuring’s from ScHoolboy Q, Talib Kweli, a surprisingly good one from The Game, and of course, Rapsody, who has one of the most highly anticipated album releases of 2016. The best tracks are, in my opinion, “Room in Here,” which is the epitome of Anderson’s smooth, sincere, and warm r&b tracks, and “Come Down,” which is 100% 2016’s “King Kunta.” Much like Kendrick shattering all doubts of “he’ll never top G.O.O.D. Kid” with To Pimp A Butterfly, Malibu is the result of an artist’s ability to completely tap into their talent and deliver. Even though this record will surely last in rotation, I already can’t wait to hear what Anderson .Paak will do next.