Album Review: Oxnard by Anderson .Paak

by Cameron Cardwell

Anderson .Paak was signed to Dre’s label in 2016 and named one of the XXL freshman the same year after releasing Malibu. Since then, .Paak’s rise to fame from his Breezy Lovejoy days has been skyrocketing. After joining Dr. Dre on his 2015 album Compton, Anderson . Paak teams up with rap’s first billionaire once again to bring you Oxnard. The theme of this new album narrates .Paak’s return to his So-Cal hometown, sharing lessons he’s learned from being involved with fame, wealth, and the music industry.

After dropping singles such as Tints and Who R U?, Oxnard was shaping up to be a funky, synthy, and varied neo-soul/hip-hop album. Accompanied by .Paak’s trademark charisma and flow, Oxnard is the culmination of Anderson .Paak’s unique style, smooth grooves, and unmatched energy. Many sounds and ideas from Malibu and Venice can be heard on Oxnard joined by Dre’s trademark production and a little bit of nostalgia. Motown and G-funk are big influences for .Paak, especially on this album. .Paak is honing in on the styles that he does best on a polished and funky neo-soul/hip-hop album with great features and production.

Below are the individual track reviews and comments on the flow of the album, as well as the score. Thanks for reading! Yes lawd!

The Chase (feat. Kadhja Bonet) – Oxnard begins with the sound of someone getting in the car and shuffling through the radio. Then suddenly… Kadhja Bonet leads with an electric guitar riff that reminds of one of those cheesy 70s cop show intros. Themes of holding on and looking for hope in the face of blaxploitation and poverty are found throughout the track. Additionally, the break in the middle adds as a wonderful transition into a funky bass line. Overall, a great opening track.

Headlow (feat. Norelle) – Headlow begins with .Paak driving down the I-9 accompanied by a funky and bass driven beat with shimmering keys. As .Paak cruises through the interstate, he and his date “have to keep their heads low” due to the illegal activity occurring in his car. The song ends with him getting in a car accident due to the “services” the girl in the car is giving him, he instructs ongoing traffic to drive around him because he’s “almost there.” The theme indicates a sense of freedom by being careless. 

Tints (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – A great synth-funk track with a lot of swagger.  A great feature from Kendrick Lamar matches .Paak’s charismatic verses. Only gripe with this track is the beat could have used a change-up on the tail end. Everything about the track is exciting and catchy, making this a highlight on the album. 

Who R U? – The other single dropped before the album. Not as synth-driven, but equally as catchy with a jittery hip-hop beat. .Paak’s bars comment on the current state of his success. Meanwhile thanking others, such as his friends and enemies,  for leading down the right path.

6 Summers – Another favorite off the album. A 2-part track from .Paak commenting on the POTUS’s twitter rants and living through a post-trump America. This track also features a Gil-Scott Heron quote, which he takes some liberties with to reflect the times. The beat change on this is also great shifting from a bass drove funk to a sweeter, off-kilter beat. This is one of the more dense tracks on the album and showcases.Paaks versatility. He quickly shifts from a sketch about road head to a commentary on our society and himself.

Saviers Road – A calm and slow-burning beat with catchy and clever bars from.Paak about his come up and obstacles. A nice little intermission in the middle of the album.

Smile/Petty – This track might be my favorite on the album. We begin with a smooth synth-funk track featuring beautiful vocals from.Paak and the backup singers. This segways into the second half of the track, Petty, which is equally as smooth with elements of G-funk. Both tracks feature lyrics about.Paak’s experience with relationships, women, and whatever problems/emotions come with them.

Mansa Musa (feat. Dr. Dre & Cocoa Sarai) – .Paak is continuing the synth-driven hip-hop feel of the album on this track featuring a great feature from Dre. The only gripe with this one is Dre’s verse could have been longer and the beat could have used some variation.

Brother’s Keeper (feat. Pusha T) – Another highlight from the album which features my favorite feature. Both.Paak and Push have great one-liners like, “If Jesus would’ve had a better lawyer would he have to see the cross” and” Arms reach of the reaper, they say it’s cheaper to keep her.” All of this revolving around themes of morality and Christianity.

Anywhere (feat. Snoop Dogg & The Last Artful, Dodgr) – A nice ode to Snoop and the G-funk/West Coast hip-hop scene. .Paak is now apart of the west coast hip-hop/funk lexicon so it was cool to see him recognize it on this track and the album.

Trippy (feat. J Cole) – This song opens up with some corny jokes that sound far away, somewhat continuing this radio theme. Then a swinging and swaggering beat comes on with Anderson .Paak rapping melodically. J Cole’s verse is upstanding but didn’t match.Paak’s lyrical versatility. 

Cheers (feat. Q-Tip) – Loved this one. Catchy, off-kilter beat featuring Legendary Hip-Hop Icon: Q-tip. (A Tribe Called Quest) 

Sweet Chick (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid) – A soulful track about.Paak’s past relationships. Artist comments on unsuccessful and toxic relationships being one of the prices of fame. Also features an incredible and uplifting verse from BJ the Chicago Kid.

Left to Right – The closing track of a very catchy hip-hop album. It would only make sense that.Paak brings us out with a funky ode to grime. The only gripe with this one is that I was hoping for something a little more high energy with grittier bars from .Paak about his rise to the top and the trouble along the way. Still a great track and a decent closer.

Score: 4/5 

 

 

 

 

this fire playlist I made of songs to turn up to. by Sarah

A new volunteer named Sarah asked me what she could do to help me out. I told her to make me a playlist for the blog. I didn’t know what to expect. But let me tell you about this playlist: it SLAPS. This hip hop playlist is called “this fire playlist I made of songs to turn up to,” which features Queen Beats favorites Princess Nokia and Rico Nasty, cutting edge trap from the likes of Playboi Carti and Travis Scott, and favorites within the experimental community by Baltimore rapper JPEGMAFIA. Extra New Media Director brownie points go to JPEGMAFIA and YG who remind me of my days boolin’ around in High School discovering G-Funk and Death Grips.

Playlist contains Explicit Content.

-New Media Director

Listen on Spotify: this fire playlist of songs I made to turn up to. (steam out of nose emoji, hand pointing to God emoji)

An Intro to Raveena Aurora.

by Paola Barreto

Raveena Aurora’s voice is as smooth and slowly captivating as “Honey”, the title of her 2018 single. The 24 year old Sikh-American R&B singer has been gaining traction and is close to reaching one million listeners a month on Spotify. She even has a spot performing at Tyler the Creator’s music festival this year, Camp Flog Gnaw. Here are three songs to check out:

 

Sunflowers, pearls, gold, milk, lip gloss, and mehndi. The single “Honey” came out May 2, 2018. It’s a song about ending your day in a warm, calm, and lovely way. The video’s aesthetic holds a hazy warm glowing dream that sticks to you along with Raveena’s steady unwinding voice. It depicts an inclusive visual of love and positive LGBTQ representation with POC same-sex partners in video.

“I sleep better without you around…it’s too late to hold me” Raveena sings smiling.  “If Only” is a song off her 2017 EP Shanti and its words echo independence. She proclaims it’s too late with lyrics like “you still don’t understand, a woman is holy” and in return wraps self worth in her message. This song is one of healing and moving on from toxic relationships.  

Blush blossoms, Nikes with frilly ankle socks, blood oranges, long necklaces, glistening chokers, and ladybugs. “Sweet time” is another song off the EP Shanti, which is as delightful to consume as the light shades of pinks and fresh raspberry stains in its music video. The song, with lyrics like “I’ve been meditating, I stopped medicating, I’m taking advice from the moon”, is an anthem of self-care.

Herb Alpert and Lani Hall on KZSC!

Listen to LC’s interview with Herb Alpert and Lani Hall!

Alpert is the co-founder of A&M Records, an iconic trumpeter, a composer, a sculptor, painter and philanthropist. He has won nine Grammys and is the only artist to hit No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 pop chart as both a vocalist and an instrumentalist.

Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall — a Grammy-winning singer and composer in her own right, who was the lead singer of Brasil ’66 from 1966 until 1971 — are on tour with their latest project, “Music Volume 3 – Herb Alpert Reimagines the Tijuana Brass”.

HERB AND LANI ALPERT, 2013

Be a Boy (Also a quick review of The Garden at the Catalyst)

By: Nicolas Amerkahnian

*Parts of this article heavily blur the lines of satire and actual opinion

Just murdered another yerba mate so it’s time for a blog post. The Garden performed at the Catalyst on May 23rd. The show went smoothly. They played the hits – Banana Peel, All Smiles, Call This # Now – but something was off. At least three different people in the crowd had flashlights on looking for their lost Juuls on the ground. About 45 minutes into the show everyone started coughing. Half the crowd darted out the door – the other half unphased. Someone, whether intentionally or not, had their pepper spray go off in the middle of the crowd. It sucked. At the end of the show, twin brother leads Wyatt and Fletcher stepped off the stage and walked through the remaining crowd out the backdoor of the Catalyst. They were clearly frustrated by their audience leaving.

Watching the two model brothers with their dangling earrings and fishnet shirts walk out the door gave me the first half of a realization, however. The other half came last night when I was watching the music video, “Fake Love” by Korean boy band, BTS. It features the half dozen androgynous super boys in a variety of dramatic set pieces, ranging from explosive cityscapes to a room full of candy bars. The boys were dressed in extravagant blouses and made up to look smooth skinned – both boyish and ghastly. Earrings dangle from their ears, half obscured by the two-block mop top haircuts that they all dawn. Eerily like the boys in The Garden. This brings me to my realization.

Boys are back. Global culture has decided – men are out, boys are in. You may be wondering, “What does that even mean?” If men weigh in at 100% masculinity, boys land anywhere between 1% and 99% masculinity. With boys being back, it means it’s time to shave your beards and embrace any sort of androgyny you can. Sell all your stock in sports, uninstall Fortnite (or maybe install Fortnite, as actual 8-to-35-year-old boys do seem to love that game), whatever it takes to get rid of at least 1% of your masculinity. 2018 is the year of the dog, and the year of the boy. All your favorite alt-right heroes – Ben Shapiro, Paul Joseph Watson, Alex Jones, Jordan Peterson – seem to agree that masculinity is dead, at least that’s the headline that I read on the side of my Facebook newsfeed. So, the solution is obvious: embrace boy-dom like all the great heroes of our time, and many great heroes of the past.