An­der­son .Paak Finds His Muse: Ev­ery­thing

Paper Boy - - Front Page - BY JON PARELES

“For peo­ple who don’t know, the mu­sic speaks for it­self. I never thought I’d be a new artist at 31 years old,” he said by phone from Los Angeles while tend­ing to his son, Soul.

He has also recorded as a guest on dozens of songs, singing and rap­ping. He per­formed on six tracks on Dr. Dre’s 2015 al­bum, “Comp­ton,” which got him wide at­ten­tion. He also ap­peared on the 2016 al­bum “We Got It from Here … Thank You 4 Your Service” by A Tribe Called Quest, whom he per­formed with at the Gram­mys on Fe­bru­ary 12.

Through­out “Mal­ibu,” he sings and raps amid the utopian grooves of 1970s soul; the woozy flux of cur­rent alt-r&b; the brit­tle sound of trap; the low-slung swag­ger of Los Angeles hip-hop; and hints of psychedelia, new wave, gospel and elec­tronic dance mu­sic. All of them are put in service of his own com­pli­cated story.

An­der­son .Paak is the son of a South Korean woman and an African-american man; he grew up in Ox­nard, Cal­i­for­nia. Although “Mal­ibu” was also nom­i­nated as best urban con­tem­po­rary al­bum, Ox­nard wasn’t par­tic­u­larly urban. It’s fa- mous for its soil, and his mother sup­ported the fam­ily grow­ing or­ganic straw­ber­ries. “Mama was a farmer/papa was a goner,” he sings on the al­bum. His last glimpse of his fa­ther, he told LA Weekly, “He was on top of my mom, there’s blood all over the street.” His fa­ther, now dead, was jailed for as­sault.

He started play­ing drums in his church band at 12 and was rap­ping in high school. His mu­si­cal tastes were broad, and he was al­ready re­sist­ing pi­geon­holes. “Peo­ple didn’t al­ways un­der­stand a drum­mer that was lead­ing the band,” he said. “Peo­ple wanted to box me in. ‘Is he a rap­per?’ ‘Is he an R&B dude?’ ‘ We can make him like this.’ No.”

At 21, he moved to Los Angeles and worked his way into a nur­tur­ing lo­cal scene. He did him­self no fa­vor by choos­ing the name Breezy Love­joy, which he saw as a cheer­ful, ro­man­tic R&B moniker. But he as­sem­bled a band, the Free Na­tion­als, and built a fol­low­ing. In 2012, he re­leased two al­bums.

By 2014, he had re­named him­self An­der­son .Paak — the dot sym­bol­izes at­ten­tion to de­tail — and he re­leased “Venice,” an al­bum full of light­hearted tales of smok­ing

An­der­son . Paak, the song­writer, singer, rap­per and drum­mer who was born Bran­don Paak An­der­son, didn’t mind being nom­i­nated for a best new artist Grammy even though his 2016 re­lease, “Mal­ibu,” places him about five al­bums into his record­ing ca­reer.

LANZAROTE, Spain — In the dim un­der­wa­ter light, a man lies on a fu­neral pyre, his arms out­stretched. He is not a real per­son, but a statue cre­ated by Jason deCaires Tay­lor, a Bri­tish sculp­tor whose works form Europe’s first un­der­wa­ter mu­seum, here on Lanzarote.

The fig­ure is also meant to con­vey the re­newal of life, as his pyre be­comes a new habi­tat for fish and other sea crea­tures.

Mr. Tay­lor’s stat­ues — some 300 of them — de­pict other lifeor- death is­sues, in­clud­ing one of a boat filled with refugees that evokes Europe’s mi­gra­tion cri­sis. He also ad­dresses less crit­i­cal so­cial is­sues, like the ob­ses­sion with self­ies.

The use of art as an ar­ti­fi­cial reef is meant to raise aware­ness of the destruc­tion of ocean reefs around the world. He uses con­crete, fiber­glass rods and other ma­te­ri­als to make his in­stal­la­tions both re­sis- tant to cor­ro­sion and ph neu­tral.

“Sculp­tures are nor­mally seen as static and mon­u­men­tal, while these are al­ways liv­ing in the mo­ment,” Mr. Tay­lor said. “The more tex­ture the pieces have, the more they trans­form” un­der­wa­ter.

One in­stal­la­tion is a 30-me­ter­long fence with a gate that seems point­less, since a diver can eas­ily swim above it.

Though Mr. Tay­lor started his Lanzarote project be­fore Pres­i­dent Donald J. Trump promised to build a wall on the United States’ bor­der with Mex­ico, he said Mr. Trump “seems to be very much about pro­tec­tion­ism and di­vi­sions, the kind of ideas that I wanted this wall to show as being ab­surd.”

He added, “Our at­ti­tude is to build borders and claim own­er­ship of the world and its nat­u­ral re­sources, when the three- di­men­sional nat­u­ral world re­ally doesn’t work like this.”

It took more than two years to make all the works and sub­merge them more than 12 me­ters into the sand be­low. The Museo Atlán­tico opened on Jan­uary 10, and al­ready feather worms and sponge are start­ing to cover the stat­ues.

Scuba divers pay an en­trance fee of 12 eu­ros, about $12.80, and are ac­com­pa­nied by guides cer­ti­fied by the mu­seum, which is about 300 me­ters off­shore.

The mu­seum is part of a cul­tural project dat­ing to the 1960s and in­spired mostly by César Man­rique, an artist who turned the vol­canic is­land into his canvas. Man­rique de­signed houses, stat­ues, restau­rants and cul­tural cen­ters, of­ten carved into the lava rock.

Man­rique started to trans­form Lanzarote to­ward the end of Gen­eral Fran­cisco Franco’s dic­ta­tor­ship, when the regime used tourism to boost Spain’s econ­omy and end its in­ter­na­tional iso­la­tion. Yet Man­rique was a staunch en­v­i­ron-

DREW AN­THONY SMITH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES An­der­son .Paak says the dot sym­bol­izes his at­ten­tion to de­tail. He cites R&B, 1970s soul, trap, gospel and hip-hop, among oth­ers, as his mu­si­cal in­spi­ra­tions.

RAPHAEL MIN­DER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES The Museo Atlán­tico, near the is­land of Lanzarote, Spain, is de­signed to trans­form over time as ma­rine life takes over.

SAMUEL ARANDA FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES Jason decaires Tay­lor spent more than two years cre­at­ing the sub­merged stat­ues.

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