Until a few weeks back, the only constant in their whole discography was 3D. The first one to run from the toxic and confrontational environment was Tricky, who was a member of the band until the phenomenal “Protection” in spite of what Wikipedia says. For the “Mezzanine” sessions they included live instrumentation; Mushroom wasn’t satisfied with the changes in sound they were experimenting with and, in spite of the album’s success, was the second one to go.
From that point on they were flirting with the idea of working separately and publishing everything under the Massive Attack moniker, but what ended up happening was the conflict between Daddy G and 3D kept the former out of “100th Window” and only semi involved in “Heligoland”, even though he’s credited as a composer in all of those songs.
In 2013 their name returned to the spotlight with unorthodox plans and good news: 1.- They were writing songs with Tricky; 2.- They were releasing EPs instead of an album and 3.- The first one was going to be the work of 3D and the second one Daddy G’s, each working with their own team. Then they disappeared for 3 years, Tricky released his most underwhelming album to date — “Skilled Mechanics” — and when the world was not looking, “Take It There”’s fantastic videoclip starring John Hawkes appeared all over the Internet:
In November 2015, I predicted Anderson .Paak‘s rise to stardom while discussing Dr. Dre‘s “Compton“. And I had no idea he was such a talented individual back then. I consumed a couple videoclips for the “Venice” singles and wasn’t particularly impressed but his voice was unique and got stuck in my head. Two days later, “The Season / Carry Me” dropped and I was floored. It was exactly what the world needed, it was obvious. As the release date approached, “Come Down” appeared and the funk was within us.
Still, I wasn’t expecting such a consistent and well-thought-out album. When “Malibu” arrived it was already over. Anderson .Paak won by knockout. As the year went by he became the vocalist to call and was invited to participate in virtually every project that came out of the USA. He began appearing as a musical guest in talk shows and, surprise!, Boom!, he played the drums and had a band. Later on, he stole the show at every music festival and his fate was sealed. In a move that surprised no one, Dr. Dre signed him to Aftermath. “… and fuck fame/ That killed all my favorite entertainers”… beware of your own words, Mr. .Paak.
In The Needle Drop‘s “Malibu” review, Fantano made a good point: even with the presence of superstar producers, the album sounds synthetic and relies too much on loops. It has some, but it could be even better with more live instrumentation. His “Tiny Desk Concert” is proof, the already wonderful songs come alive and breath fresh air. Simple and sexy, butter and velvet. It’s ridiculous. Still, I don’t listen to “Malibu” that much. Maybe it’s too R&B for me. Maybe too happy. Maybe I’m waiting for a live album or one for the more aggressive Nx Worries project he has with producer Knxwledge. One thing’s for sure, there are no filler songs in that album and .Paak more than proved himself as an artist. The kid is just starting, let him spread his wings and he’ll burn the world down.
True artist, right here. It’s not exactly my kind of music, but I won’t complain. I wouldn’t know in what genre to classify him in, is this soul? No, but it does have one. All I can say is his power, angst and honesty are palpable. He came from the past or another planet to show us how it’s done. In the last song, “Adios”, he sings:
Adios to the little child in me
who kept on blaming everyone else
instead facing defeat
After all, why should I regret?
If it wasn’t for the mistakes
I made yesterday
where will I be by now?
Let that be our lesson for the day.