Anderson .Paak – “Ventura” review

Anderson .Paak is a 33 year old rapper, singer, songwriter & producer from Oxnard, California who gained notoriety by landing a handful of features on my all-time favorite producer Dr. Dre’s 3rd & final album Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre in 2015 as well as forming the duo NxWorries with Knxwledge & signing to Stones Throw Records together that same year. He then dropped one of the best R&B albums of the decade with Malibu at the beginning of 2016 & that lead to Dre officially signing him to Aftermath Entertainment a few weeks later. But with his fantastic major label debut Oxnard dropping 5 months ago, it seems like .Paak is now delivering a follow-up.

Things start off with “Come Home”, where .Paak & André 3000 ask for their former lovers to reconcile over a jazzy beat. The next track “Make It Better” talks about mending over a smooth instrumental from Fredwreck & The Alchemist alongside a gorgeous Smokey Robinson hook while the song “Reachin’ 2 Much” is an infectiously funky odyssey about this woman who is excessive for him. The track “Winner’s Circle” is a lust anthem over a beautifully minimalist instrumental while the song “Good Heels” with Jazmine Sullivan sounds like an unfinished duet.

The track “Yada Yada” brushes off his naysayers over a mellow instrumental while the song “King James” of course pays tribute to the Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James over a funky instrumental. The track “Chosen One” is a dedication to .Paak’s potential soulmate over a spacey beat while the song “Jet Black” talks about this couple peakin’ over a laidback beat. The penultimate track “Twilight” is about this woman who puts .Paak back in place over a vintage Pharrell instrumental, but then the closer “What Can We Do?” is a duet with Nate Dogg about moving on from a past relationship over an uplifting instrumental.

Yeah, it’s just as amazing as the last 2 albums were. There are a few underwhelming moments, but .Paak’s sticking to his R&B guns again in contrast to Oxnard & he continues to show how dynamic of an artist he really is.

Score: 4.5/5

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