Presenting the artist in a top hat and plaid boxer shorts as he plays piano in the surf amid a smattering of objects like an old-school record player, the surreal cover image for Anderson .Paak’s breakthrough album perfectly suited its wildly inventive contents. Full of witty, unpredictable songs and styles that ranged from ‘60s soul to ‘90s hip-hop to vanguard R&B, ‘Malibu’ became one of 2016’s most acclaimed albums, establishing its creator as a maverick whose imagination can seem virtually limitless. Along with a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album, the album earned Anderson .Paak another Grammy nod for Best New Artist along with similar acknowledgements at the Soul Train Music Awards and the BET Hip Hop Awards.
All that marked a long journey from Anderson .Paak’s first foray into music, which was playing drums in church growing up in Oxnard, California. After coming to Los Angeles, he sought to establish himself as a session musician while creating his own sounds under the moniker Breezy Lovejoy. His fortunes rose when he began working for Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra, the revered L.A. hip-hop duo and production team. His new confidence inspired him to drop his former handle in favor of Anderson .Paak, a stylized version of his real name. The buzz got louder with the release of his wildly diverse debut, ‘Venice’ (2014), and his contributions to albums by Dr. Dre and The Game. And while he fully proved his capabilities with ‘Malibu,’ it was ‘Yes Lawd!’ (2016) by NxWorries – his duo with producer Knxwledge – as well as shows with his band The Free Nationals that confirmed he’s just as compelling with close collaborators on hand as when he’s pursuing his singular vision.
His third album and first since signing to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment, ‘Oxnard’ sees Anderson .Paak introduce yet more colors in his palette, beginning with Technicolor textures, carnivalesque soundscape, and his own exuberant flow in “Bubblin’,” the album’s first single. And with his return to stages with The Free Nationals, Anderson .Paak is ready to make good on his reputation as one of the exciting new talents in hip-hop and R&B.