When listening to the album “Oxnard”by Anderson.Paak, I kept on thinking of two things. The first was this album feels very new and old at the same time. The other was that this is an extremely funky album. Anderson .Paak’s “Oxnard” is a very original but also would feel totally at home during the West Coast rap scene from the early 1990s.
“Oxnard” is an album that takes its roots in the funk era of the late 60s early 70s. The first two tracks of “Oxnard” start out a little slower and more soulful but the moment track three starts you know that this is as much of a funk album as it is a hip-hop album. In general, the whole album feels like it had to have the blessing of Bootsy Collins before it went to print because the vast majority of tracks on “Oxnard” have this bass-line groove that is infectious.
Once I started digging further into the album the feelings that I had about the album made more sense. The legendary producer Dr. Dre had helped produce four of the fourteen tracks on “Oxnard”. Dr. Dre is very famously known for bringing more funk to hip-hop. Anderson .Paak was also heavily featured on Dr. Dre’s “Compton” album from 2015 and “Oxnard” is distributed by Dre’s record label Aftermath so the synergy between the two artists is definitely prevalent.
Anderson .Paak’s “Oxnard” leans on the musicianship of Paak and the other producers instead of samples like other hip-hop albums. This isn’t a good or bad thing as the album does have a wonderful flow from one track to another which makes for a great listen from beginning to end. The one thing that not using samples is that the album doesn’t feel as layered as some hip-hop albums because when using samples artists take the beat and then add layers to the sampled song to make it something wholly unique onto itself.
There are a few features on “Oxnard” but Anderson .Paak doesn’t rely on them for the album. The first feature is on the third track “Tints” which has Kendrick Lamar bringing his incredible flow to punch up the song and gives it the feel of a hit. Pusha T appears on the ninth track of the album Brother’s Keeper and as usual, annihilates the song and outshines Anderson .Paak. Some other MC’s that also have features on the album are J. Cole, Q-Tip, and Snoop Dogg with the song that Snoop Dogg was on titled “Anywhere” being one of my favorites from the whole album.
If you are a fan of the 90’s era West Coast rap scene run and listen to this album because you will truly enjoy it. Being a child of the ’80s and early ’90s this not just felt nostalgic but also felt like the next evolution of that time period. If this era of music isn’t something you enjoy this may not be the album for you. I thoroughly liked “Oxnard” and would recommend it and think it is one of the better rap albums of the year.
*Photo by The Come Up Show