Photo Credit: Hollie Fernando
Anderson .Paak has taken his fans and listeners on a ride up the California West Coast by releasing his fourth studio album Ventura after a short six months of releasing his third studio album Oxnard, and long time fans must admit, they are sitting back and enjoying the view. The two albums were recorded at the same time and the hip-hop billionaire, Dr. Dre, produced both albums. However, Anderson .Paak made Ventura to satisfy his long time, underground fans as the album has more sounds of funk, R&B, and soul with remembrance of his first album Malibu.
Oxnard still has the sounds of R&B and funk, there’s no Anderson .Paak album without it, however, Oxnard also added pop to the genre and very politically driven lyrics to the mix. Anderson .Paak’s fan base always love a good mixture and to see him expand, evolve, and push himself as an artist, but long time .Paak listeners also love it when he hits them with the classics reminding them why they fell for him in the first place. Anderson .Paak also explained in previous interviews he had a little more creative control when it came to Ventura, versus the tightly handled Oxnard project.
Ventura is an automatic classic that features some of the most well respected names in the R&B and the music industry in general such as: André 3000, Smokey Robinson, Brandy, Lalah Hathaway, Jazmine Sullivan, and Sonyae Elise, along with posthumous vocals from the late great Nate Dogg. The album also has a dope producer list with blessings from Dem Jointz, Pharrell Williams, Fredwreck, Jairus “J. Mo” Mozee, Pomo, The Alchemist, and a few more.
The 11-track album opens up with a smooth rhythmic mellow sound accompanied with drums and sultry vocals from Anderson .Paak singing for the love of his former partner to return to him in the track titled “Coming Home”. The song later leads into the one-of-a-kind rap style delivery from Andre 3000. The album then effortlessly moves into the second track titled “Make it Better” featuring Smokey Robinson. “Make it Better” was the second single released off the album through an episode of Anderson’s Beats 1 Show called .Paak House Radio. This track is beautifully harmonized by .Paak and Robinson. “Make it Better” is about two lovers that have fallen out of love with each other as they strive to get back the feelings they initially had for one another when they first fell in love.
Anderson .Paak picks up the vibe of the album with the next track titled “Reachin’ 2 Much” featuring vocals from R&B artist Lalah Hathaway. The upbeat funk 70’s inspired song is about a girl that .Paak is dating but seems to be too clingy and has questionable motives, so he asks for space and lets her know, he feels her pain, but he won’t be the one to save her. In the chorus, .Paak sings, “I see you too much, baby, I need to (Take some space) // You kiss me too much, baby, forgot to (Wipe my face) // I treat you too much, baby, why don’t you (Ever pay?) // I think you’re too much, baby, I need to (Pump my brakes) // (I think I’m doin’ way too much, I)”
The album continues its cohesive soulful vibe till the end with vocals from Jazmine Sullivan, iconic Nate Dodd, and 90’s favorite R&B singer, Brandy. Overall, Ventura contains a lot more hits than misses, and it is extremely reminiscent of the classic .Paak sound. If you been an Anderson .Paak fan since day one, this album will be a nice treat, right in time for the summer.