With the release of his latest EP “Bubblin,” Anderson Paak, one of the newest additions to the Aftermath family, is on his way to becoming a household name. His latest video for “Bubblin,” directed by Calmatic, is reminiscent of the Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes, Hype Williams era; a time where music videos experimented with the relationship between sound and visual and artists wanted to be different and have fun. As a fan of the extremely gifted artist for the last few years, we thought it would be a good idea for us to list some of the top reasons that we are absolutely in love with Anderson .Paak, and are rooting for his continued success.
1. His Voice
Whether he is singing, rapping, or talking, .Paak has this unprecedented higher pitched yet still raspy voice, so distinct that is recognizable within the first few words. Although he is a highly talented drummer, his use of his voice as an instrument–playing with cadences, rhythms, sound, and language–is equally as important to his overall sound. Homie is dynamic.
In addition to the sound of his vocals, what he is actually saying is just as dope and versatile. At times, he talks like a pimp, “I’ma coach, I’ma teach these bitches how to lay up. (Suede).” In other moments, he drops some hard truths about his family dynamics: “You mom’s in prison / Your father needs a new kidney / Your family’s splitting, rivalries between siblings (The Season/ Carry Me).” And sometimes, he just simply likes to have fun: “I been broke way longer than I been rich, so until it levels out / Ima take your momma to the Marriott and wear it out (Bubblin).” Whatever the case may be, there is no doubting his skills and his dynamism.
2. His Talent
When I played a few tracks from his collaborative project Yes Lawd to a friend, he responded, “Oh so you like neo-soul nigga music.” That is what Paak’s music is. By fusing the old school sounds of funk and hip hop with today’s pop, r&b, electronica, and trap, Paak generates a sound that is both nuanced and universal. He can reach a wide array of audiences, which is not an easy task. His range in ridiculous. Not only is he a rapper/singer but he also holds his own as a drummer, writer, and producer. Translation: Paak is a music powerhouse.
3. His energy
I was blessed to see him perform at the first ever Mempho Fest last year. I watched him run from the drum set, where you could literally see the sweat flying off him as he was on the sticks, to the center of the stage where he danced and sang like he had been sitting down, just chilling. He did not lip sync, and his voice was even better live than on recording. After at least an hour on stage, jumping between the center and the drums, he left, tossing his sticks into the audience (Unfortunately, I was not able to catch them).
4. His Commitment
Paak may be new on our radar, but he has been hard at the music game for the last 13 years, and is just now starting to reap the fruits of his labor. He endured tough times, from being homeless, to having to take mundane jobs to keep food in his mouth. While enduring the slow build proved trying, it has steeled him as artist. His steady climb sharpened his skills so that his entrance in the spotlight is sustainable. Translation: Paak’s no one’s one-hit wonder.
5. His Instagram
He has one of the most visually appealing accounts out there. Each post functions like an individual tile that fits into a larger picture. Thus, in order to really appreciate the single you have to look at the whole. Perhaps this is symbolic of Paak himself. Or maybe it’s just a dope ass graphic concept.
6. His collaborative spirit
In a recent interview with Sway, Paak discusses what it was like working with Dr. Dre beaming with excitement about his upcoming, but not yet dated for release, albums. His face lights up the same way when discussing his collaborations, which include working with Lenny Kravitz and Christina Aguilera. Paak reveals that it is his collaborative nature that helps him produce his own sound and feeds his own work. In addition to citing those big names, he mentions that within the Aftermath camp, he has been working with a lot of black women writers, rappers, and producers. Paak expresses how working with these women has grown him as an artist.
7. His Sense of Style
The way he dresses is a reflection of his unique personality and musical style. Donning fluorescent beanies, a double-hooped septum ring, and funky shades, Paak dresses to match his musical style. He adorns himself to stand out. Through his ensembles he takes risks, resulting in an eclectic, blended cosmopolitanism.
8. His Smile
In an industry where the majority of black artists often lean on the serious, clenched jaw photo as their proliferating image, Paak’s toothy smile stands out. Surely there are visuals where expresses his serious dedication to the work on his face, but 9 times out of 10, he is grinning from ear to ear. After years of grinding, he is finally getting the due he deserves, which is something to smile about. His smirk also acts as reminder that no matter how hard we work doing the things we love, we should always have fun.