Overnight suc­cess is often ten years in the mak­ing and this is def­in­itely the case for 30 year old LA nat­ive Ander­son .Paak. But suc­cess comes in the form of the alle­gi­ances he has been able to carve out in the industry, hav­ing recently signed to Dr Dre’s After­math label. Just who is Ander­son .Paak though? Chances are you haven’t heard of him.

If you’re think­ing “I’m sure I know that name!” then you might recog­nise him as a fre­quent fea­ture on ‘Compton’, the moment­ous return album of Dr Dre, where he lent his vocals to tracks such as “All In A Day’s Work” and had people call­ing him the new Nate Dogg. High praise for someone so unknown.

It star­ted at Stones Throw Records, where .Paak and Philly pro­du­cer Knx­wledge formed the duo NxWor­ries. They still have a deal there, des­pite being with After­math, and .Paak seems to have a habit of being part of labels with great hip hop her­it­age; Stones Throw had both Madlib and the late J Dilla on their books at one point. Unhappy with the slow pro­cess of record labels, NxWor­ries dropped a live ver­sion of single “Suede” online in 2014 and it blew up. Stones Throw were quickly on the phone, they wanted to release it as a record, but on the con­di­tion that the duo took the song down.

The latest album “Malibu” was always the goal, but .Paak’s man­ager pushed him to find his artistry and he decided to have fun and try his hand at oth­er genres. This came to fruition on the eclect­ic mix that was his first album “Venice”. Noise for this album was cre­ated by early single “Drugs” – a trap-style banger – being played at LA club night Low End The­ory – and “The City” which was an early favour­ite of Zane Lowe’s Apple Music show.

Venice itself fea­tures ele­ments of trap, hip hop, soul, funk and even house. It is so beau­ti­fully all over the place that it has a song for every mood and .Paak’s unique and mem­or­able voice glides from track to track, cross­ing genres effort­lessly. You could hear his voice on a Dis­clos­ure track and then fea­ture on a Kendrick track and not think twice about it.

Where Venice developed an under­ground buzz and show­cased his abil­ity to change styles, Malibu zer­oed in on .Paak’s skills at com­bin­ing soul and hip hop into an album that will per­haps go unnoticed against ones that his peers have released this year. Fea­tur­ing LA rap­pers School­boy Q and The Game, both known for hard-hit­ting rhymes, the album jour­neys through the highs and lows of .Paak’s life with pos­it­iv­ity and grit. How­ever this doesn’t take away from the feel-good, beach vibes of the albums name­sake. Standout tracks include “Am I Wrong”, “The Season/Carry Me” and album open­er “The Bird”. Put the album on and you’ll be lost in it from start to fin­ish.

The peri­od in front of .Paak serves as a remind­er for him to nev­er aban­don detail and is a shrewd way of mak­ing sure oth­ers pay atten­tion too. Let’s hope more do so with this tal­en­ted artist.