Thanks to his breakthrough album Malibu, Anderson Paak will be vying for awards in the Best New Artist category (even though this is his second major album following 2014’s Venice) and Best Urban Contemporary Album categories at the 2017 Grammy Awards. If Malibu is your introduction to this vibrant hip-hop/soul dynamo, then here are a few things you may not know about him.
The hip-hop/soul dynamo got his start in the church.
If you’ve heard some of the coarser lyrics on Malibu and Yes Lawd!, the latter his collaboration with producer Knxwledge as NxWorries; then you probably wouldn’t think that Paak got his musical start in the church. However, Paak remains a devoted Christian. Until his career went into overdrive after his work on Dr. Dre’s 2015 album Compton, you could still find him playing drums at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Oxnard every Sunday.
He has deep Korean roots.
Paak comes from mixed ancestry: His late father is black, and his mother is South Korean. (He’s one of many R&B stars with Asian roots. Others include Jhene Aiko and her sister Mila J, whose mother is partly Japanese; Malaysian singer Yuna, and Kehlani, who has Filipino ancestry.) Last year Paak, whose wife is Korean (the couple currently resides in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles), performed a triumphant “homecoming” concert in Seoul.
He’s a huge hardcore punk fan.
Growing up, Anderson Paak was a huge hardcore punk fan. In a revealing interview with Internet personality Nardwaur, he talked about his love for Oxnard bands like Ill Repute and Dr. Know, and the local scene compilation, Nardcore.
He and Frank Ocean share collaborators.
Paak has yet to appear in the studio with Frank Ocean. But the two young innovators have one thing in common: They’ve both collaborated with members of Sa-Ra Creative Partners, the nu-funk trio whose mid-Aughts catalog has been a huge influence on post-millennal soul. Sa-Ra’s Shafiq Husayn mentored employed Paak as a session musician early in his career. Meanwhile, the production team – particularly Om’mas Keith – played a role in Ocean’s Channel Orange and Blonde.
He’s more than a Dr. Dre protégé.
As is often the case with Dr. Dre – remember the mythology surrounding the origins of his Eminem partnership? – there are already conflicting stories about the L.A. icon’s introduction to Paak. Some reports state that the good doctor reached out after hearing NxWorries’ Blaxploitation soul homage “Suede” in the winter of 2015. But in an L.A. Weekly story, Paak’s manager Adrian Miller recalled that he secured a meeting with Dre’s attorney well before then. “He laughed at me. He’s just like, ‘Dre’s not signing any artists.’ And I said, ‘OK. We gonna see.'” His instincts proved correct. Dre signed Paak to Aftermath last year.
By Mosi Reeves
Courtesy of Rolling Stone