Oxnard Album Review



Geoffrey Daniels, Reporter

The much awaited third studio album by the group Anderson .Paak, entitled Oxnard was released on Nov. 16. It is the follow up to their grammy winning album entitled Malibu, an intriguing exploration into the new era of jazz in hip hop, and a display of Anderson .Paak’s many musical flavors. Oxnard, which is named after the home town of .Paak’s front man, Brandon Anderson, is a further exploration into the reintegration of traditional jazz beats and influences into hip-hop and rap musically, and a lyrically engaging experience that covers a wide range of stories and experiences.

The album begins with the song “The Chase” which immediately hooks you onto a very funky, jazzy beat, that feels familiar to .Paak’s sound. This segways to the main single of the album, “Tints” ft. Kendrick Lamar. Although this song is very good, my personal opinion of it is that it sounds like an altered version of the Malibu single, “Am I Wrong?” Feat. Schoolboy Q. Although this is true, it is clear in comparison that .Paak has developed their sound in the time between Malibu and now, because Oxnard, and this song especially does everything they did on Malibu, but with more focus and development.

That is also a common recurrence in this album. Oxnard feels like it has a much stronger sense of personality, development, and direction that Malibu might have lacked. That being said

the songs on this album are not truly connected like a single tape or story like other popular jazz rap albums like Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album, “To Pimp a Butterfly”, all of the songs have an interrelated message of loneliness, longing, and the feeling of isolation after “making it.”

This is most clear in the touching tribute to Brandon Anderson’s close personal friend Mac Miller, “Cheers” featuring A Tribe Called Quest frontman, Q-Tip. On this song, .Paak truly encapsulates the purpose of the album, to reconnect with himself and his home, and pay tribute to those he’s lost. This song has a wonderful feature with Q-Tip, who is also paying tribute to his friend and fellow member of A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg who passed away right before the release of their album “We Got it From Here Thank you 4 Your Service” in 2016. The two lyrically combine to create a beautiful ballad and tribute to their colleagues, which symbolizes the overall theme of the album.  

The overall flow of the album is well done, with one musical thought easily connecting to the other. Rarely does .Paak stray from their core sound, but on the few singles where they do, such as “Cheers,” “Tints,” and “Brothers Keeper,” it works incredibly well while still blending in their jazz sound. Very rarely does this album stray into a trappy, new age rap sound, but in the song “Brothers Keeper” and “Tints,” they incorporate new sounds just enough to sound fresh, while still including their jazz sound.

Overall, this albums strongest point is the further reintegration of jazz, funk, and traditional grass root sounds back into hip hop and rap. Oxnard is a return to form for the golden age of hip hop, finding its sound somewhere between the classic albums by A Tribe called Quest in the 90’s to the new era of jazz rap, which .Paak and others have ushered in. This album is a very easy listen for any and all hip hop fans who are looking for an album that has a new, but very familiar traditional sound.