For me, first and foremost this is a ‘soul’ album. There is extensive genre hopping on Mr. .Paak’s second album, but the overall impact as a body of work to me feels like soul.
As with my last AOTM (Miguel), Anderson .Paak is a mult-instrumentalist-singer-songwriter with some added rapper-ness for good measure. This is lot less ‘love-sexy’ (R&B?) than Miguel and I think perhaps an easier listen for Brother Guy? I saw a number of very good reviews for this album but I fully engaged with it when I was in London for a very long day’s work on trains and walking across town. I got to listen to the album probably 4-5 times throughout the day and it put a big fat smile on my face.
This guys singing voice is gorgeous, his singing based tracks feel organically soulful and emotionally driven. There’s a sense of humour running through the album that really resonates with me. It would take me far too long to reference all of the lyrics that hit home for me because the song-writing is so good and so mature. The album feels very socially conscious without ever feeling preachy. He’s obviously had an emotionally troubled life which he uses for inspiration in a very measured manner, never played for effect or thrust in the listeners face (ears?). Never greater than on the last track, ‘The Dreamer’ tell me you don’t love that track and it’s message?
There’s obvious Kendrick Lamar influences weaved through these tracks. You will hear it when you listen to it initially. I understand that the albums were recorded almost at the same time though so it would be interesting to understand how the artists arrived at relatively similar places independently. They both worked with Dre extensively on Compton and come from the same music back-yard. As you continue to listen the Kendrick Lamar references soften (or they did for me but perhaps cause I have not listen to Pimp A Butterfly that much) and it blossoms as something quite different.
I hope you enjoy.