Already 2018 has brought plenty of stellar releases, but don’t assemble your end-of-year lists just yet, as Anderson .Paak is looking to make a big impact with his forthcoming album. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the rapper/multi-instrumentalist detailed the LP, titled Oxnard, its prominent collaborators, and how he hopes it will bring “ambition” back into the game of hip-hop.
After raking in accolades, a Dr. Dre cosign, and a Grammy nomination for his last album, 2016’s excellent Malibu, .Paak was quickly propelled into the spotlight. However, .Paak said that he was able to stay grounded throughout the recording process of his new full-length by returning to his roots — Oxnard is the name of his SoCal hometown — and remembering all the steps that led him up to this point:
“Everything we made for Malibu we made from the dirt. We had the bare minimum.” Fast forward two years: “Now, it’s trying to keep that same mentality, but when you have everything. When you’ve been eating calamari and lobster, when you’ve been going to festivals and playing for 40,000 people. You finally have a tour bus. You have two kids now, and a wife to support. You’re trying to keep the same principles you had when you just had a couch.
“When you go everywhere, you just hold on to the things that made you,” he said.
Oxnard marks .Paak’s first release on Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment and last of “his beach series.” “You know, we went to Venice, we went to Malibu,” .Paak noted, “so it’s only right that we take it to the next place, up the coast, up to the next beach.” As hinted previously, Dre was “heavily” involved in the making of the LP, serving as executive producer. “His music was everything to me,” Paak said of his mentor. “It molded me.”
Another famous name that pops up on Oxnard is Madlib, a veteran rapper and producer who is also known for his collaborations with DOOM, J Dilla, and Freddie Gibbs.
The new album features “sprawling psychedelic grooves and confident verses,” according to Rolling Stone, and per .Paak, a special ingredient missing from the current musical landscape. “I feel like ambition is missing from today’s music,” he explained. “This is the album I dreamed of making in high school, when I was listening to [Jay-Z]’s The Blueprint, The Game’s The Documentary, and [Kanye West’s] The College Dropout.”
With those references, .Paak has set the bar high for himself. We’ll have to wait and see whether Oxnard, which is due out before year’s end, lives up to that hype.
In recent months, .Paak has teamed up with Nile Rodgers and Chic, Christina Aguilera, and Westside Gunn. He’s also set to drop a new album with his Free Nationals band at some point in 2018. His most recent solo single, “Bubblin'”, can be revisited below.