This is Anderson Paak On Drugs

Max Bell  bombs like fighter planes Hit records sell a mood, a feeling. Melody and inflection matter more than lyrics. This is the reason many have yet to realize “Hey Ya!” is about the...
By    August 1, 2014

Max Bell  bombs like fighter planes

Hit records sell a mood, a feeling. Melody and inflection matter more than lyrics. This is the reason many have yet to realize “Hey Ya!” is about the dissolution of damaged relationship.

Hellfyre Club vocalist/drummer Anderson Paak knows this. His single “Drugs” distills the chaotic and often toxic comingling of narcotics and the carnal into alluring bacchanal. Upon close inspection, the lyrics can be read as a sobering and downright depressing confession from someone who hates the club and his relationship until the drugs kick in (“There’s no love / She don’t even like me / But if we have drugs she can be my wifey”).

Yet I’ve played “Drugs” more times than there are capsules in several scripts of Vicodin. The lush, pounding production is a near perfect synthesis of trap, rap, and R&B, built to break Airliner speakers. The twinkling keys evoke the promise of another pill. And the energy of Paak’s crooning, combined with his atavistic ad-libs, is undeniable. He revels in the soul crushing debauchery, successfully selling tainted love under the guise of the turn-up.

Though “Drugs” still has a criminally low number of plays on SoundCloud (just under 100,000), the recently released music video will go a long way to ensuring that this will be the first Hellfyre Club song to breakthrough to the mainstream. Here a hat burns as women gyrate and don animal masks. A crew of Paak’s homies jump around like Everlast is rapping about cops and Dunkin’ Donuts as an ice cream cone burns and women ingest rose petals and cupcakes. The song’s skittering hi-hats are visually rendered in the occasional break-neck glitch of the camera. If you blink, you’ll miss Busdriver looking you dead in the eyes. I don’t know if he’s supposed to be in love with the song. I don’t know if I am either. I’m just going to hit play a few more times until I find out.

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