Weeknights are usually a dull affair on campus, but Anderson .Paak changed that when he appeared at The Loft this past Thursday. The California native has been on the rise, appearing on Dr. Dre’s album Compton as well as The Game’s double album, The Documentary 2. The multi-talented artist brought his eclectic blend of hip-hop, funk, soul, and R&B together in a diverse set that showcased his range as a musician and showman. Watching him croon on the mic then slide over to a drum set to lay down thick grooves was surprising and enthralling. Backed by The Free Nationals, .Paak was able to energize a small crowd in an intimate setting, a skill many up and coming artists lack.
The crowd made its way from the bar to the front expecting the headlining artist to appear from behind the stage. Anderson .Paak came through the back and slithered his way through the crowd beginning the set with him and his band’s version of “The Makings of You” by Curtis Mayfield, which was sadly not recognized by the young crowd. The unorthodox record “Milk and Honey” followed, as the jarring and distorted 808’s jarring rattled the windows of The Loft and the hectic beat meshed with his effortless flow. Working his way through his most recent album, Venice, .Paak performed “Might Be,” a smooth smoking joint, as well as “Miss Right,” where he lists the characteristics his perfect lady must have. In between the album highlights was a lush and peaceful cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s hit “Maps” off of .Paak’s album Cover Art. The funky track, “Luh You,” turned the crowd into a group of two-steppers, and “Right There” flaunted Anderson’s ability to write infectious and relatable hooks.
The show was capped off with the performance of “Drugs” and two encores for the artist from Oxnard, California. “Drugs” is a medley of rolling traps synths, 32nd note Lex Luger hi-hats, chunky 808’s and piercing crashes providing the foundation for a song about casual sex that flourishes out of .Paak and his companion’s mutual love for drugs. This was the peak of the show and it featured fifty kids mobbing around Anderson as the set climaxed. The rapper was willed back on stage to play “Suede,” a track off of the soon to be released album Nxworries, a collaboration with the producer Knxwledge. This song is the closest thing you will get to musical butter and smooth is the only way to describe this masterpiece. A second encore followed as Paak came onto the stage for the last time and decided how to cap off the set. He settled on “Animals,” a stand-out collaboration with producing legend DJ Premier and Dr. Dre. The raw and truthful chorus was sung throughout the venue and Anderson Paak cracked a smile, presumably surprised by the sheer passion and energy coming from a crowd that barely numbered over 60. Building on the hype he has generated in the past 12 months, Anderson Paak is planning on releasing his new album Malibu before the end of 2015. Be on the lookout for new material from one of the up and coming artists out of Southern California.
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Photo: @anderson._paak // Review: Quinn Frantzen