With all the odds against him, Anderson Paak’s career has turned into something dreams are made of.
Despite changing his name from Lovejoy to Anderson Paak, the artist behind both monikers hasn’t moved away from his initial philosophy: turning a negative past into beautiful and inspiring music, and calling forth love and compassion from those who listen to it.
A lot of Paak’s inspiration behind his musical method was recently revealed in an interview with Pitchfork, where he discussed two painful memories: one of his father beating his mother, and the other of his father’s death after serving a 14+ year prison sentence. The trials and tribulations in Paak’s life don’t end there, but these hardships certainly serve as a point of reference for the size of the hurdles Paak has had to overcome. Paak’s mother, on the other hand, dedicated herself to raising him and taught him to transform his hardships. Paak speaks on this in his song “The Season | Carry Me” in which he calls out repeatedly, “Mama will you carry me?”
Paak has surely made it his goal not only to redefine himself, but also to create impactful music that can affect multiple genres. Listening to one of Paak’s albums will take you on a journey through the culture of music yesterday, today and tomorrow. His recognizably raspy and charismatic voice carries through over jazz, R&B, trap, funk and experimental rock. Paak recently told Noisey, “People have said I couldn’t do songs with all these different genres, with all these different artists. It made me wanna break the rules.” And break the rules he has.
Listen to Anderson Paak's album Malibu:
Paak’s latest album, Malibu, begins with a soulful R&B tune, “The Bird” and before you’re ready for it, he jumps right into a completely new vibe with “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance”. The jazzy, drum-driven introduction to this song is reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album, To Pimp A Butterfly. Malibu continues to ebb and flow in various directions, teleporting listeners from 80s skate rinks in “Am I Wrong”, to futuristic clubs in “Parking Lot”, and finally to a dreamy jazz lounge in “Room In Here”. The entire album is laced with samples of old recordings of interviews, documentaries, and advertisements too, keeping your ear intrigued. This release proves that Paak has mastered his craft, and is bringing the 21st century music culture with him as he pushes creative boundaries.
Just last month, we caught Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals’ recent show at Red Rocks with Bryson Tiller, and can personally guarantee that he will give one of the liveliest performances you will ever see. Paak grooves on stage with a dance style just as unique as his music, and fearlessly jumps over his drum set to drive the beat of his songs while incredulously still singing and rapping. Anderson Paak is on an ethereal level that doesn’t come around often. Which is why we recommend you buy your tickets to Vertex Festival in Buena Vista, CO now! The festival is scheduled for the weekend of August 5th-7th, and Paak is at the top of our must-see list on the lineup. We’ll be covering the festival, so stay tuned, and in the meantime, get your tickets to Vertex here.
All photos per the author; embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited.