My Favorite’s of All Time #20: Anderson .Paak’s ‘Malibu’

Like most things, I don’t have a very strong chronological memory of how I was introduced to Anderson .Paak’s Malibu (2016), but I do remember “Come Down” being one of the songs that introduced me to him. My mom had this friend that helped me out a lot when I was getting ready to go off to college; she bought me some stuff I needed and gave me a couple of resources to begin my undergraduate journey. And, as a thank you, my mom had me go over her house to help her with miscellaneous tasks like typing up papers or helping her go grocery shopping. There was one day where I was making a couple of flyers for her for a pool party she was having (lol remember those?), and needed to throw some music on to speed up the time. And some how some way, “Come Down” came on, and I listened to it on repeat for almost an hour. Since then, Malibu has been one of my favorite projects and Andy .Paak has become one of my favorite artists.

I had to wake up just to make it through
I got my patience and I’m making do
I learned my lessons from the ancient roots
I choose to follow what the greatest do
I’m repping for the longest cycle
My uncles had to pay the cost
My sister used to sing to Whitney
My mama caught the gambling bug
We came up in a lonely castle
My papa was behind them bars
We never had to want for nothing
Said all we ever need is love

A bird with the word came to me
The sweetness of a honeycomb tree
And now I look what’s taking over me
Couldn’t fake it if I wanted to

There’s just so much to love about Malibu. I feel like I always point out the level of variety on a project as one of my favorite things, and Malibu is no exception. Andy gives us 8 million different sounds and manages to put it all together in a way that feels intentional and unrushed. But the whole thing maintains a level of soulfulness throughout its entirety, while giving us pieces of different genres and musical moments. He really has the perfect voice to experiment with. The features on this project are also A M A Z I N G. I have to start off giving props to Rapsody for her fire verse on “Without You.” I really really appreciate her being on this project in a way that felt full, rather thanher just being a background vocal or on the hook. And she’s able to give us some bars that assert her authority and agency, rather than her just following Andy’s lead. It could have easily been her song instead of Andy’s – that’s the quality of the space she created on her part of the song. It’s not an extremely long verse, but I love everything about it.

I also love the Hiatus Kaiyote sample on that song!!! I remember hearing the song for the first time, and I HAD to find out where that sample came from, so shout out to Andy .Paak for introducing me to the talents of Nai Palm; she’s also a really amazing singer. I will say that Schoolboy Q’s verse on “Am I Wrong” gives Rapsody’s verse on “Without You” a run for it’s money, though. When I say I LOVE Q on “Am I Wrong,” I mean that I need someone to make an hour long loop of just his part and put it on YouTube. I NEED him on more tracks like that. It’s absolute P E R F E C T I O N. The Game’s feature on “Room in Here” was also really good; ALL the features on this project went OFF, really. And the production on this project is *chef’s kiss*

It’s so clear from this project – and the others – that Anderson .Paak really does this music thing for real; there’s no way he could have pulled a project like this off, without that level of appreciation for the craft. And that’s something I really just have to acknowledge. Maybe this is my slightly problematic take, but I really have an issue with folks who make music who don’t actually care or like music like that. Maybe I’m misremembering this, but I feel like there was a point in time where Lil Uzi Vert said that he didn’t care about the music like that; he just wanted to make money. Maybe he’s had a change of heart since then or maybe that’s something that I made up (lol) – I don’t know. But I’m sure he wasn’t/isn’t the only person who makes MILLIONS off of making music but doesn’t actually care about the craft at all. And that’s so sad to me. It almost feels like sacrilege. To take an art form that people have been using to express and free themselves for YEARS and brush it off as just a way to make a quick dollar is wild to me. And that sentiment is only going to become more true as the commodification of hip hop culture (and music as a whole) continues. And I get it. People want to make money; people want to be successful. But at the same time, it feels….weird. And diminishes the value of the music and how much work it takes to do the things that people like Anderson .Paak do. Because everyone can’t make an album like Malibu.

here’s something else you might like:

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