It’s overstatement to claim that the NxWorries full-length was approaching Madvillain 2 type delay, but it’s at least been an excruciating DMV wait. When Anderson .Paak and Knxledge first squared off, the former was merely an ascendent soul lothario often described as the most talented man in LA who few knew outside of LA. Then a Stones Throw Dungeon session attracted the attention of Pete Rock, who passed .Paak onto Dre, who offered him a gold stethoscope chain, a rarified seat on the Aftermath small council, and a chance to find out once and for all if the Doctor first discovered Burning Man.
You know the rest. Paak emerged as the breakout star of Compton, dropped the minor classic, Malibu, and spent most of this year blowing minds with his electric wire drumetric soul revue. His performance at Coachella was one of those instantly legendary sets that redeemed the downside of having to broil in the heat next to hordes of anthropomorphic glow sticks. Last week, I saw him open for Beyonce, which was definitely not on the itinerary the first time I met Anderson at the Dr. Robbin coffee shop in Koreatown. Sometimes, a combination of talent, perseverance, and luck finds its way through in this blighted industry. Sometimes, you wind up at Dodger Stadium, draped in blue, drumming before 55,000 ecstatic Beyhivers, crooning about how magical it was the first time you got a pair of Jordans.
This morning, Stones Throw announced that the NxWorries album, Yes Lawd!, will emerge from the catacombs on Oct. 21 — just in time for Halloween. Like “Suede,” the first song that garnered the duo attention, the latest single, “Lyk Dis” is smoother than a motherfucker. This is probably the closest thing you’d get to a Dilla and Bilal combination if they were reasonably young in 2016.
It’s a great song because it seems so simple. Just create a loop, some drums with butter-on-toast crispness, and a red velvet voiced lead singer and you’d ostensibly have the recipe for a hit. But there’s a quiet mastery here. Anderson has the gift of writing obscene lyrics with a genuine decency, never extending into vocal histrionics, letting the beat build like an all-star basketball player scoring his points in the flow of the game. He never forces his shot. There are requisite lyrical cliches but they feel chopped up into something new. S series of one liners that you know you’ve heard before, but never fail to work. Smoothness you can’t teach. It’s suede or silk or immaculate soul.