Half-way through 2020 and the year has forever become marred by tragic death around the world. Even worse, in the United States the recent murder of George Floyd has reminded us of the injustices African Americans endure on a daily basis in the United States. These continued injustices have sparked nationwide protests against police brutality toward African Americans, demanding change and accountability.
As a white musician writing and performing music that is influenced by black culture, I’d like to dedicate seven straight days of posts honoring some of the black musicians who have inspired me the most.
For day two I would like to nominate one of the most talented people alive. Anderson .Paak, is also without a doubt one of the top 5 coolest people on the planet. Andy P has killer swagger and charisma on top of his amazing array of musical talents including singing, songwriting, rapping, and drumming. I first got turned on to Anderson .Paak back when "Malibu" came out in 2016. My friend Gerard threw the album on while we were driving on tour and that album was instant love for me. From start to finish .Paak delivers line after line of bars on top of some soulful, heavy hitting jams. Some of you have probably listened to the album but I'd bet that most of you have heard his singles "Come Down," "Bubblin'," and "Make it Better."
In the following months .Paak quickly became one of my favorite artists as I bought "Malibu" and then his Knxwledge collaboration "Yes Lawd!" on vinyl and began to stream his music on repeat while I drove on my pizza delivery routes in college. Listening to those two albums made me feel like I was living in a time that would never end. That's how it still feels now, they have become albums that instantly takes me back to the days of slangin dough and playing basketball all summer long.
Somehow I never made it to an Anderson .Paak show until May of 2019. It was a beautiful night in Downtown Cleveland at Nautica Pavilion. Earl Sweatshirt and Thundercat opened the show up and killed their respective sets. A nice bonus on top of any headliner they built the crowd up perfectly. When Anderson .Paak's set started with trumpeter Maurice Brown alone on stage blowing some notes I knew the set was about to be good. A lot of the time having high expectations will leave you disappointed. I have to be honest, I was expecting the best show of my life, perhaps a little idealist, but I had heard stories from friends. I was not disappointed. I saw the best show of my life that night and by the reactions of other crowd members I would say most of them did too. We were all going CRAZY, the set was so complex and Andy P had control of it all. That stage presence was unreal. Jumping and landing the exact second that pyrotechnics ignite, time and time again. Seamlessly moving up and down the massive stairs, playing drums at times and running through the crowd at others. I have to admit, I was so moved by his performance my friend Stephen and I ran to him when he walked through the crowd. I touched his shoulder, and Stephen got this shot to show you how close...
Everything about Anderson .Paak is inspirational to me and after that night I knew I wanted to work on my stage presence to have more swagger like he's got. I love his mixture of singing and rapping. He is so good at both, when he plays drums he just makes it look so natural and easy. That's how I want to look, natural, comfortable, in control. His story of rising from homelessness is so inspiring and he continues to put out great new content pushing the genre of hip hop further each time. I know I mostly talked about some of his older releases, but his new releases "Oxnard" and "Ventura" are straight fire as well. In a nut shell, I love Anderson .Paak and I am forever in his debt for making music that rocks me so hard. Yes Lawd!
Check out my Anderson .Paak playlist here!
To donate to help the protests against police brutality check out this great Rolling Stones article!