Following up from the success of his sophomore album, Malibu, Anderson .Paak has pushed the boat out with production and features to create a star studded album that will open a lot of eyes.
Oxnard follows the theme of Anderson .Paak’s previous California based album names, Venice & Malibu, as Paak pays homage to his hometown on this monster album. Executive produced by hip hop mogul, Dr. Dre, the album has much more than a sprinkle of star power. From Dr. Dre and legends of the game Q-Tip and Snoop, all the way through to today’s biggest names in Kendrick and Cole, there’s a little bit of something for everyone on this album.
The album totals up to 11 features over the span of 14 songs, it’s a little too much for me. While I love a feature that can spark my interest, Paak could rap for 60 minutes on his own and I’d listen, having so many features takes away from what he’s capable of. It can get a little too forced and ultimately it feels like Paak and Dre have tried too hard. There needs to be a balance, that being said, some of the features are the highest points of the project.
Kendrick Lamar does what he does best on the albums promotional single Tints as both Kenny and Anderson’s unique style and flow gel together to form a near perfect blend. From one near perfect blend to another here as Q-Tip graces the album on track 12, Cheers. The pair own two of raps most distinguishable voices and it was a joy to listen to them glide over a funky beat. Pusha T and J Cole feature on Brother’s Keeper & Trippy respectively. Powerful songs with big names made for an interesting and enjoyable listen. It’s pretty clear that Anderson and Dre got the very best out of the featured artists, but this is supposed to be an Anderson .Paak album, not a compilation.
Aside from the features, Anderson .Paak proves his worth as he goes solo on Who R U? and 6 Summers, two of the highlights of the album that feel much more stripped back and cool. The biggest problem here isn’t the vast array of features, it certainly isn’t the skill of Anderson .Paak. The real problem is that he’s tried to put too much on one project, it feels that tad bit too forced.
Paak hasn’t let himself down by any stretch; I’d have never doubted that for a second. Has he excelled himself? I struggle to say, in all honesty probably not. Malibu was such a roaring success, it’s become incredibly hard for me to compare them, I shouldn’t really try to. As it’s own piece of art, Oxnard is a quality piece that’ll rank fairly highly come the end of the year. The star power gives us moments of brilliance and sometimes becomes a little too overwhelming, but overall it really is Anderson .Paak who has ultimately placed himself towards the top of the rap heap, with help or not.