Review Summary: Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge: After Hours
If you've been keeping a keen eye on the album credits of some of the biggest rap and soul releases to come out in the past few years, there would be no need for an album review to convince you that Yes Lawd!
is a collaborative record worth listening to, as the weight that comes with these two names behind NxWorries is more than enough. Anderson .Paak has made the rounds recently, collaborating with the likes of Milo, Dr. Dre, The Game, Madlib, Busdriver, and Chance the Rapper. He's even made quite a splash with his own solo efforts like Malibu
, a breakout record that proved he's one of the most entertaining artists in soul music today with the potential to reach even higher. Knxwledge, who's been active since the late-'00s, has 60+ beat tapes, a sign to Stones Throw Records, and a production credit on To Pimp A Butterfly
to his name. With their back catalogs, they have both proven they have an ear for the retro, smooth, and soulful side of hip hop, and have helped maintain its niche in today's musical landscape. Yes Lawd!
is worthy addition to this niche.
, while it may not be as upfront as Malibu
songwriting-wise, is a more provocative affair. The first half especially shows the real horndog side of .Paak we've caught only glimpses of on tracks such as “Silicon Valley” and “Your Prime”. .Paak sets this mood on “Livvin”, with lines like “In the city of flawless women, my god, look at all of these bitches, Yeah! / A long way to get out here, but there's a drought here / And I'm winnin'”
, which are delivered in a way that paint a picture of .Paak coming across a valhalla filled with women, all of whom he will have the pleasure of sleeping with.“Wngs”, “Best One”, and “Lyk Dis” are soul tracks practically designed for the bedroom, and prime examples of how steamy things get on Yes Lawd!
. .Paak's idiosyncratic vocals ooze charisma from the start of the record, and it's a while before there are any signs of it running out. He even gets out more than a few funny lines, like the outro to “H.A.N.” where he takes the role of a preacher, asking his crowd and the listener to pray for all the hoe ass niggas out there trying to take advantage of others' fame.
Fitting the sultry lyrics brought by .Paak is Knxwledge's smooth, loop-centric production; very much in the same vein as the type of stuff you’d expect from a Stones Throw signee. This alluring, soulful sonic direction is carried throughout the majority of the record, and helps carry the record's mood even more than .Paak does. His beats even steal the show on more than one occasion; the horns that pop up on “What More Can I Say” makes up for any shortcomings the track might've had, and “Get Bigger / Do U Luv” was a perfect choice for a single, as it clearly demonstrates the realization of this collaboration’s potential. Some of the beats are lacking the bells and whistles that'd give the listener more to chew on, but they do their job more often than not. The only semi-major misstep is “Scared Money”, where Knxwledge tries out this ‘80s R&B pastiche which only sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise consistent sounding record.
As Yes Lawd!
slides into its 2nd half, some of the chinks in its armor become evident. The previously mentioned “Scared Money” is the biggest lowlight on the album production-wise and “Link Up” is still the weakest of all the singles released for the record. But the biggest problem highlighted in the 2nd half can be seen in three particular tracks: “Khadijah”, “Jodi”, and “Another Time”. All these tracks have the potential to be album highlights. The first features some great, introspective lyrics from .Paak concerning religion and how he turns to it to cope with the stresses and struggles of life. The latter two feature some wonderful beats from Knxwledge and vocal melodies from .Paak that feel inspired by the older days of soul. It's a shame these 1-2 minutes songs aren't nearly developed enough to become stunners. But that's the nature of Yes Lawd!
. It isn't one of those high concept releases where the aim was to become the new Black Star
. The intentions of Yes Lawd!
are spelled out loud and clear in the album's press release,”You may have heard these two out in the world, on their own or sprinkling some of their musical gold dust on someone else's songs, but this is what happens when .Paak and Knx get home, lay back, light up, and let it go.” This is the sound of two guys shooting the shit, throwing things at the wall to see what sticks and for how long. It's just so happens that these two guys are a pair of instinctively talented artists at the top of their game.