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Funky and fun, NxWorries creates one groovy album

By Emma Kahn

Section: Arts

October 28, 2016

What one word would you use to describe Anderson Paak? Groovy. The duo NxWorries, consisting of Anderson Paak and Knxwledge, recently released “Yes Lawd!”, a fun, funky and exciting 19-track album that highlights the best of two innovative and truly brilliant musicians. If you want to know what new music styles are prevalent this year, look no further than contributions by Anderson Paak and Knxwledge. The two are often overlooked in mainstream music outlets, as The Fader writes, “The producer is one of the most crucial yet anonymous figures in all of music.” Do not mistake the anonymity and mystery behind NxWorries as representative of their worth— these two are making huge waves in the music you hear today and the music you’ll be hearing tomorrow.

Back in February, The Hoot featured an article on the release of Paak’s “Malibu” and described him as an up-and-coming artist. Rolling Stone featured him with beautiful precision as “a dreamer and romantic who blends hip-hop, R&B, rock and soul into a funky world all his own.” After an interview with NPR, host Scott Simon acutely labeled his music as a “kaleidoscopic mix of 60’s funk, 70’s soul, hip-hop, R&B, electronic music and rock ‘n roll.” If you didn’t know Anderson Paak then, you should now. Paak has been featured in some of the year’s best albums, such as Kaytranada’s “99.9 percent,” Mac Miller’s “The Divine Feminine” and Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book.” His smoky, seductive voice and lighthearted style is what makes songs like “Glowed Up,” “Dang!” and “Suede” impossible to play just once.

NxWorries seamlessly fuses an older, more emotive style with the best features of modern production style. Both artists speak to similar influences in their lives that have impacted their musical taste and style. “It’s really close to church for me: the feeling you get when you drop these chord progressions and make them your own,” Knxwledge said in an interview with The Fader. “There’s a lot of R&B and soul music that came from gospel. I’ve listened to hip-hop and a lot of R&B songs, like, all those Monica joints—the melody is always driven, so a lot of that shit is comparable to church songs to me. It gives you the same feeling. Everybody gets that chill down their spine for something.”

Paak similarly expresses attachment to the black gospel choir sound in several interviews alluding to the first time he attended Baptist Church, urged by his sister to check out the choir and the church band. He incorporates many soul and R&B instruments and styles into his music, preferring a rougher, uneven beat to a precise style of rhythm. As a producer and musician, Anderson Paak promotes the boom-bap sound and expresses in interviews the dismaying lack of artists and producers interested in boom-bap production, a style self-reflexively titled for its onomatopoeic chopped percussion sound. The complexity with which he entered into a music career, combined with the challenges of his youth, fails to dampen his cheerful and optimistic sound. He is bringing positivity to even the most tragic verses.

NxWorries have an impeccable ear for production style. It is no wonder, as they worked to produce many high profile yet innovative albums, including Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly.”

Featuring 19 short tracks recorded throughout 2015 and early 2016, this new album brings some older tracks into the mix that some listeners are already familiar with. “Suede,” “Link Up” and “Lyk Dis” were all released before the album release date of Oct. 21. Other notable tracks new to listeners include “Livvin,” “Sidepiece” and “Fkku.”

“Yes Lawd!” is a fun and easy listen, bright in sound and bursting with creativity. Anderson Paak’s voice is uncanny and alluring, scratchy and effortless, and the beats of each song pull a listener into this fresh, funky and fun world that NxWorries creates. “Yes Lawd!” paves the way for the new and alluring trends in modern hip hop and rap today—softer, more sensual and introspective musicality over smooth and clean beats.

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