Hip-hop music is often associated with hard-hitting club anthems and loud, aggressive sounds.
Rap is one of the most disliked genres of music and is regularly criticised for glorifying drug abuse, violence and misogynistic lyrics.
It isn’t always, however, and two modern greats are representing the industry as well as they possibly could, in Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, but there are others taking a slightly different approach to the game, and thriving.
Anderson Paak’s release of Malibu in 2016 slipped under the radar, which in itself is a sign of how strong a year it was for new rap music, but the album deserves recognition.
Presenting some typical themes in a new way, Anderson Paak touches on domestic issues in a handful of tracks but they are presented in almost an uplifting way because of the music that accompanies them. You can listen to Malibu through and feel good without listening to the lyrics all that closely, or you can take a trip into the mind of the artist by paying closer attention.
The funky instrumental behind The Waters is perhaps the best example of this off the album. From the minute the track begins, it’s hard not to nod along, but the lyrics aren’t all that cheerful.
“Word to the liquor that killed my grandpa liver,” is just one example of the 31-year-old touching on personal problems at home, but the song, simultaneously, feels as though it’s a celebration.
The Bird is another beautifully crafted track, outlining some of the problems he suffered at home. Emotion and hardship are present from start to finish, but Paak still emerges with gratitude, which is throughout the album.
Celebrate is a personal favourite from the album, and it’s impossible to listen and not end up humming the tune for the rest of the day. The track has a classic west-coast feel to it, and if you close your eyes you can almost picture yourself listening while driving at sunset in a drop-top car with the roof down.
It is also probably the best example of how smoothly he transitions from singing to rapping and showcases his comfort and talent in both.
Now is a good time to become acquainted with his music, too, as May and the Irish summer approach, his songs make for a perfect playlist for laying in the sun with a beer in hand and a barbecue on.
Currently on tour with Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak will perform twice in one night in Dublin on April 30. First as a warm-up act for Mars, before making his way across the city to The Academy for his own show.
If groovy, jazzy and feel-good hip-hop is your thing, then you’re in for a treat at the end of the month. Use the meanwhile to explore Anderson Paak’s music and head along for a night of funky rap.