Anderson Paak

(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Venice (2014), 6.5/10
Malibu (2016), 6/10

Los Angeles-based Afro-Korean rapper Anderson Paak debued as Breezy Lovejoy with O.B.E. Vol. 1 (2012).

The EP Cover Art (2013) was a clever attempt at "whitexploitation", a black artist covering white artists.

Venice (Steel Wool, 2014), credited to his real name, followed in the footsteps of neo-soul (the poppy and velvety The City and Put You On) but it frequently indulged in playful and almost parodistic overtones (Milk And Honey, Might Be, the deconstructed Michael Jackson-style funk-soul Luh You). It also included de tours into jazz-rock (Miss Right), a reggae-folk hybrid (Miss That Whip) and the visceral psychodrama Drugs with electronic arrangement.

Malibu (Steel Wool, 2016) didn't quite offer an upgrade to the neo-soul of the era but, instead, regressed in time. The album seems in fact a tribute to the golden age of folk and soul music with songs that homage soul-jazz (The Birds), Tamla's funk-soul (Put Me Thru), James Brown's funk (Come Down), disco-music (Am I Wrong, featuring ScHoolboy Q) and even the singer-songwriters of the 1970s (Celebrate). There is also an oddly comic dimension, best visible in the satirical, almost Frank Zappa-esque, Heart Don't Stand A Chance and in the surreal and poppy ditty Parking Lot. Less brilliant and spontaneous than Venice, the new album seems to show that his neo-soul strategy is not sustainable, although his many and unpredictable detour show a multifaceted talent.

(Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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