bumping .paak’s ‘oxnard’: what’s your fave track?

November 16, 2018

So Anderson .Paak‘s Oxnard has finally dropped, and the entire AFROPUNK office is all over it. The album is streaming throughout the office, but everybody’s also behind the headphones, engrossed in their own discoveries and instant hot-takes. It’s a lot of music, a lot of words and guest spots, a lot of different kinds of energies. Honestly, it’s just A LOT – and we’re gonna take another minute to process it all. Just as we’re sure you need that minute too. In the meantime, though, we surveyed the team for their initial favorites and feels. What are yours?


Emil Wilbekin

“The Chase” takes me back to when soul music ruled Black American radio and served as a mechanism of resistance. Back to the days of Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” and “Shaft,” when complex compositions and live instrumentation were the heartbeat of the streets. Leave it to Dr. Dre to bring the voice and flow of Anderson .Paak to a modern day musical masterpiece appropriately entitled “The Chase.” Shout-out to Kadhja Bonet for her soul-stirring rifts. It’s a love letter to Black love and Black protest.

Dev Allen

Anderson takes a break from drugs and buffoonery on ‘6 Summers’ to just talk about the Orange buffoon. He takes so many sharp shots at 45 and the VR meme we live in. “Pop-pop-pop goes the shooter / Reform, reform shoulda came sooner” is a smoothly cold-blooded lyric. My body wants dance, but my mind is just worried. .Paak outlines a tragic image of a possible 6 summer-sized canvas we hopefully don’t have to fill in.

Myles E. Johnson

“Smile/Petty” is such a nice groove. It reminds me of Sly & The Family Stone’s “If You Want To Stay” in how he created a kind of kiss-off track about a bumpy romantic situation, but if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics, the production and vocals are so lush and soulful that sonically it sounds like a simple love song. The female background singers supporting .Paak bring a 70’s, Stevie Wonder dimension (thinking of “Flower Power”). And also in Stevie Wonder fashion (thinking “Ordinary Pain”), he switches up the mid-tempo to something more vibrant and urgent. It’s emotional, humorous, and scathing. All the things I love in a love song.

Piotr Orlov

Like Dev, I too am a little pre-occupied with the moments of Oxnard when .Paak takes a break from the party life, and gets moody. On “Brother’s Keeper,” he engages Pusha T over a lurching, indie-rock guitar vibe, and while the talk of death and salvation gets really dark, there’s an enlightening silver lining present. While .Paak goes for Biblical metaphors about the trap falls of fame, King Push keeps it historical, recounting the story of The Clipse, one of the greatest sibling groups in rap-history, and how his brother walked away from Earthly glories to devote himself to heavenly ones. Neither man has answers here, just layers and layers of questions.