Published Nov 26, 2018Anderson .Paak's highly-anticipated Oxnard is a slow burn. It's not a bad effort by any stretch, but perhaps the excitement that hovered around its release all these months set the bar distractingly high. Unlike the works that precede it, (Venice and Malibu in particular), Oxnard doesn't wow on the first, third, or even fifth listen. But it isn't short on bright spots either, even if they take a while to reveal themselves.
"Sweet Chick" (with BJ the Chicago Kid) captures the easy, breezy California beach vibe that .Paak mastered on previous efforts inspired by his home state. "6 Summers" is stark, yet funky social commentary that showcases .Paak's sense of humour and biting wit. "Trippy" (featuring J. Cole) is Oxnard's peak, a lush and romantic groove that threatens to destroy the replay button.
But there are head-scratching moments too. Paak's musty attempts at patois on "Left to Right" bring the mood down. Dr. Dre's lacklustre raps on "Mansa Musa" do too. And "Tints" was a fun single, but its charm gives way to full-on cheesiness after a few plays.
Still, it's evident that Paak put care into this project. Perhaps its biggest fault is being a good album that's just not as strong as the other two in .Paak's "Golden State" series. (12 Tone / Aftermath)