West coast rap finds new sound

Anderson .Paak bares his soul

By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor

Can lightning strike twice? Anderson .Paak thinks so with his fourth solo album “Ventura” coming just four months after his critically-acclaimed “Oxford” album.

.Paak refuses to be put in a box as a musical artist and blends hip-hop and soul music to create a sound bed that pulls the listener into this wonderland of musical bliss.

The reason why this album is so sonically sound is because it was engineered and mixed by Dr. Dre, who lends his three decades in the music world to the project.

To get the retired legend of rap Andre 3000 on a track is a feat within itself, and he’s in rare form on the first track of the album, “Come Home.” .Paak sets up the alley oop for 3000 with the first two verses on the track.

3000 smites anyone who dared to question his place on rap’s Mt. Olympus with the third verse, which he weaves in and out of the beat reminiscent of his days with OutKast to let a woman know that he’s that dude with lyrics like:

“You’re all I need, all of me on my knees. Normally harmony, bumblebee, hummingbird I’m a nerd, study you what are you, WWF? We fightin’ We might need counseling.”

Next up is “Make it Better,” which brings in the Motown legend Smokey Robinson. .Paak has a chance to show off his prowess as an MC while Robinson croons on this sultry track.

The rapping continues with “Reachin’ 2 Much” featuring Lalah Hathaway, which serves as a nice buffer track before we get into the rest of the album with some activism.

“Yada Yada” channels A Tribe Called Quest vibes, which .Paak tells his listeners his trials and tribulations when trying to become a successful musician and that he’s not going back after tasting success.

He raps about the perks of being successful, like seeing the world and eating chicken wings in Europe doing music festivals.

The highlights of this album besides “Yada Yada” are the tracks “Lebron James” and “Chosen One.” In “Lebron James,” he gives props to Colin Kaepernick and James for the activism they’re doing in the community. And “Chosen One” speaks about him finding love with the right women.

This album has one or two missteps, and it’s debatable if you’re an Anderson .Paak fan, but is still a solid effort from .Paak for its 38-minute runtime.