Brandon Paak Anderson, better known as Anderson .Paak, is back with another instant classic. On April 12, Paak dropped “Ventura,” his fourth album.
“Ventura” is an album that sounds like it could have been made in the ‘70s as easily as it could have been made in 2019. Paak dives deep into his soul, funk and R&B influences on this album, with groovy bass lines throughout the whole project and a summery, carefree attitude. This album seems more true to Paak’s other works, especially Malibu, in that sense. “Oxnard” felt different than some of his previous releases, with a few harder, more hip-hop focused songs like “Who R U?” and “Mansa Musa.”
Paak is a multi-faceted artist, blending hip-hop, R&B, soul and funk into his music. Not only is Paak an extremely talented singer, dancer and musician, he is also killer on the drums. He even has a goofy — yet helpful — YouTube series called “.Paak 2 Basics” where he teaches viewers drum techniques such as transitioning grooves and soloing.
Just this past November, he released his fourth studio album, “Oxnard,” named after the city in California he was raised in. Before that, he hadn’t released anything under his own name since January 2016, when he dropped his 16-track, critically acclaimed album “Malibu.” Later in 2016 he released “Yes Lawd!,” a collaborative album with Knxwledge under the moniker NxWorries.
Fans had been eagerly anticipating “Oxnard’s” release for a long time. Paak teased listeners a month before with “Tints,” a funky song featuring K. Dot himself: Kendrick Lamar. The video racked up over 8 million views on YouTube.
“Ventura” kicks off with “Come Home,” a slow, jazzy track featuring André 3000 of OutKast. 3K’s verse is easily the best feature on the album. It cuts right into the track, almost abruptly, but it works. With tons of references to Ramadan and Harriet Tubman, sprinkled in, 3K does not disappoint on this one.
The album goes into the next song, “Make it Better” with a feature from Motown legend Smokey Robinson. This radio-friendly track was released as a single along with a video on April 4. The song sounds dreamy and soul-filled but is essentially a letter to someone he’s fallen out of love with, and his attempt to repair that relationship.
Paak also released the album’s seventh track, “King James,” as a single back in March. This is a very political song, delving into Paak’s issues with Donald Trump and his proposed Mexico border wall. The chorus explains all the ways that the country would be hurt by deporting immigrants.
This album was a bit unexpected for some listeners, especially because Paak had just released a project a few months prior. But luckily, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Paak transcends time on this album, turning his funky, soulful music into something that any generation can enjoy. Paak was able to satisfy listeners with this release in an 11-song album that proves his critical acclaim is well-deserved.