An­der­son .Paak ★★★

Ox­nard AF­TER­MATH CD/DL/LP

Mojo (UK) - - Filter Albums - Ste­vie Chick

Un­even but com­pelling mag­num opus from SoCal funk-rap wun­derkind

After two ac­claimed in­die-la­bel long-play­ers that prof­itably danced be­tween the gauzy fron­tiers of funk and hip-hop, the third in An­der­son .Paak’s “beach tril­ogy” – named after his SoCal birth­place – finds him signed to Dr Dre’s Af­ter­math im­print, and set­ting out his cre­den­tials for great­ness. Cer­tainly, the mu­sic here is very of­ten bril­liant, funk merely a help­less play­thing at his in­ven­tive fin­ger­tips, from the rest­less Blax­ploita­tion bus­tle of The Chase, to the blissed-out, sun-bleached groove of Head­low – though that par­tic­u­lar tune is wasted on a car-sex sce­nario un­wor­thy of a be­tween-song skit. In­deed, .Paak’s ten­dency for ju­ve­nile and preen­ing bad­boy blus­ter is a re­cur­ring weak­ness; bet­ter are the mourn­ful break-up mope of Trippy, Brother’s Keeper’s with­er­ing ex­am­i­na­tion of the jus­tice sys­tem, or 6 Sum­mers, where his de­ranged slew of in­sults and filthy talk takes an un­ex­pected (and of­ten on-point) left-turn to­wards se­ri­ous­ness. May his lyri­cal eye ma­ture to match his mu­si­cal vi­sion next time out.

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