Anderson .Paak: Ventura (12 Tone) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, August 11th, 2020  

Anderson .Paak

Ventura

12 Tone

May 09, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Hot on the heels off Malibu and Oxnard, comes Ventura the third in California-native Anderson .Paak's trilogy. His titles may be the SoCal beach towns he loves but the influences he pulls from here return largely to '60s Motown and '70s Funkadelic. He updates romantic tropes to suit the more woke, modern lady, and strips off the machismo that mired Oxnard.

Immediately, "Come Home" signals this departure from producer Dr. Dre's signaturewhere misogyny and G Funk beats are cozy bedfellowsit is more aligned to Prince's slinky swagger as Paak pleads in his trademark, staccato-ed rasp "I'm begging you please come home/No one even begs anymore." As jazzy horns and flute weave around a chorus of female voices, an indie-guitar solo segues into quick-fire rap from Outkast's Andre 3000. He continues the theme of giving it up for strong women: "Harriet Tubman/I don't give up/And if your gut tells you to strut, then strut/Then I'll hail you a car, but what man won't beg?"

Other highlights include: "Make It Better" (feat. Smokey Robinson), where an old sample is employed to "make new memories." There's an ode to black female beauty on "Jet Black" (feat. Brandy)his artful flow and smooth soul matched with the one-time, teen sensation's unmistakable smoky vocals. "Twilight," with Pharrell Williams at the helm, is an exercise on how hip-hop can still spark newfound excitement with The Neptune's playbook of acid jazz horns and a bouncy bass line. Paak also lends solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement taking a knee, so to speak, with Colin Kaepernick in "King James" while exalting LeBron James, whose boundless commitment to the cause includes opening a groundbreaking public school in his Ohio hometown.

Ventura closes with "What Can We Do?" (feat. Nate Dogg). One of G Funk's best-loved originators, Nate Dogg passed on in 2011 but here is heard as if in the studio with Paak singing "What can we do?" and answering "That's when the change comes, that's when the game's done." In sentiment it echoes Sam Cooke and in sound to Berry Gordy, devoid of gangsta posturing, this tribute also harks to the recent loss of Nipsey Husslerappers gone but not forgotten. (www.andersonpaak.com)   

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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