Isn’t it great when a highly anticipated album delivers on the hype it created! NxWorries, the collabo between modern day JB Anderson.Paak and hazy producer Knxledge, had the world going crazy with the Suede/LinkUp 12″ and their aptly titled debut album Yes Lawd! makes me want to scream just that.
It would be easy to write, yet again, about Anderson Paak’s musical prowess and the uniqueness of his voice and delivery, but thankfully he is not the best kept secret he was a few years back. People have taken note.
Instead, it’s the combination of the weed fueled, sample laden production that makes this project really stand out and not in a dance-floor/sing along way either. If Paak’s Malibu is a club DJ essential, Yes Lawd! is a real standout album, in this era of quick-buck singles and EPs.
The intro and first track Livvin sets the table for the fuck-it attitude and raw energy that these two musicians have always exuded with its bravado and rolling drums mirroring a Live at the Apollo introduction speech. You already start to decipher the obvious chemistry that has produced so many classic one producer/one”MC” albums on Stones Throw (Madvillain, Jaylib,etc). I think the key is that Kxwledge laid back yet bouncy style is not only uplifted by Paak’s vocals, but it offer a great pocket to tame the beast that the Oxnard native vocalist brings on stage within this more beat crafted studio setting. The Ox/Madlib influence looms large with one of my favorite songs Best One, an off-kilter banger reminiscent of Madlib off beat remix bootleg releases that are held together by the smooth melodies from Paak’s vocal arsonal. Wngs seems like a D’Angelo outtake (in the best way possible) and the sweet soul sample from What More Can I Say is a great example of Paak restraining his range and adding grit instead of power to his vocals.
This is not to say this record is simply a mish-mash of soundalike tracks, far from it. Indeed, in the ever blurrier realms between R-n-B and HipHop, this project stands out for how unique its mix of lo-fi beats and super clean vocals is cautiously melded. Most records these days are overpolished or the vocals are belted out and it is interesting to note that both artists (http://www.hungertv.com/feature/anderson-paak-on-why-struggle-makes-a-better-artist/) care deeply about integrity in music.
It is really refreshing to hear such quality music being laid out there and this Yes Lawd LP is a defintive return to form for Stones Throw (although the latest Mndsgn LP deserves some love too).
Smoked out tracks like Kutless could not exist any other way, and the album goes from abstract (Lyk Dis) to the Rhodes led Khadija and 80s jazz tinged Sacred Money effortlessly keeping the listener constantly emerged in this ephemeral universe. Obviously, Suede and Link Up are stand outs and will get many repeats from those who are not yet obssesed by them. However, this album is best enjoyed as a whole listen and props to NxWorries for having the guts to put out a purely musical/creative LP, and taking their time instead of going for the easy package. It’s a trend I see cropping up more and more and hopefully this new wave of established artists keep on pushing each other in this direction.
YES LAWD!Order Album