Anderson .Paak is one of the most dynamic artists in the world right now. His fusion of R&B, soul, funk, hip-hop and everything in between has seen him create an utterly delectable canon of music since his debut album landed in 2014.
The characteristic of constant artistic evolution makes Anderson. Paak seemingly stand alone in his eclectic nature. He’s a character that remains impossible to pin down — which is likely to have something to do with his varied musical upbringing, including artists like Tupac Shakur and The Beatles. Paak is an artist like no other.
Paak first started his musical journey as a teenager when he began spending his free time producing music in his bedroom, and it didn’t take him long to realise that this expression was his destiny. The first time he got the thrill of performing live came when he started drumming at the church his family would regularly attend. In 2011, when his career as a musician was yet to take off, he worked on a marijuana farm but had his role terminated, a decision that temporarily left him, his wife and their infant son homeless.
However, things soon turned around, and a few months later, Paak became a crucial figure in the Los Angeles music scene as word got around about the marvellous sounds he was creating. Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra, and Los Angeles based rapper Dumbfoundead, helped Paak get back on his feet and gave him a creative job as an assistant, videographer, editor, writer and producer. He released his debut mixtape, O.B.E. Vol. 1, on June 30, 2012, and his career has continued to ascend since.
His debut album, Venice, was released in October 2014 and although it didn’t chart, it started the journey that has seen him grow to become one of the most respected names in music today. A few months before his debut release, Paak sat down with DJ Booth to discuss his fifteen favourite songs, a collection that offers a fascinating insight into his wide-ranging influences.
While he picks out songs from The Beatles and Tupac, there is a special mention for Kanye West, as he notes the producer-rapper’s ‘We Major’ from his album Late Registration.
The track is one of West’s finest and encapsulates the feeling West can produce. For Paak, the song seems like a release: “What the fuck else you gonna play when you make your first million? Kanye is the king at embodying the true feeling of the song. ‘We Major’ feels like its name.”
It’s a powerhouse song and reminds us that while Pakk may love everyone from the Fab Four to J Dilla, he also knows when the feeling is all that matters. Below, listen to Anderson .Paak’s favourite Kanye West song of all time.