Published Oct 19, 2016Anderson .Paak and producer Knxwledge's Yes Lawd! feels in many ways like the spiritual successor to Below the Heavens, the 2007 collaboration between Blu and producer Exile. Both albums eschew the fashion of the day, instead marrying post-Dilla samples and break drums with a West Coast breezy vibe, and both bend time as if they belong to no single era in particular.
.Paak's rising celebrity and heavy touring schedule following features on recent Dr. Dre and Kaytranada albums that teased his excellent breakout LP Malibu could have forced side projects like NxWorries to the back burner. Fortunately, that's not the case; Yes Lawd! feels complete, as if the finishing touches, interludes and sequencing were cohesively crafted using whatever outtakes and rough drafts were available. The result is remarkable consistency across 19 tracks. Indeed, Yes Lawd! is an album best appreciated with complete play-through.
Lyrically, Yes Lawd! is an anthology of admiration and ambition. .Paak's now trademark rasp and honest wordplay allows us to connect with heartfelt moments and cut some slack to the gratuitousness ("So I give up my sidepiece…just to make room"). The rubber band bounce of "Wngs" establishes the sound of the album early, while songs like "Scared Money," "H.A.N." and "Jodi" extend nods to a range of classic production styles.
With no prominent features and few songs exceeding the three-minute mark, all signs point to this being a passion project first and foremost, and in keeping with Stone Throw's tradition of non-traditional excellence. While the NxWorries name is probably more aspirational in nature, the Yes Lawd! title is an accurate summary of the sound within. (Stones Throw)