My first exposure to Anderson Paak was through Tokimonsta, who featured him on her track “Realla.” At the time, I thought he’d be just another drop in the sea of alt-R&B artists that are coming up these days, but he’s proven since that he’s unlike the rest.

For one thing, as his collab with Tokimonsta shows, he uses electronic elements to add an extra layer to the funk and soul of his tracks. It’s a refreshing spritz of electronica that carries listeners through the typical warmth of R&B.

Paak recently released a video for “Luh You” off of his most recent album, Venice, and it’s a great example of the diversity within his sound. The track is carried on a house beat, but it has a funky undercurrent that’s undeniably danceable. Plus the energy and positivity that really comes through in the very fun video will put a smile on your face.

His varied tastes are apparent throughout the rest of the album, and it’s clear that Paak pays close attention to the production of his music. His raspily sensual voice lilts in and out of well-placed beats and clever loops, but the songs never feel heavy-handed. His music is well-crafted, but unpretentious.

It’s also music that is quintessentially LA; he titled his album Venice after all. The laid-back vibe of Southern California is all over this album, and there are moments on it when you can just picture the sun shining down on Venice beach, while others capture the warm, slinky nights of DTLA.

That’s not the only way Paak shows love for California, though. He frequently works with LA rappers Dumbfoundead and Wax, as well as San Francisco rapper Watsky among others, even dropping rhymes of his own at times. If his production and singing/rapping aren’t impressive enough, he also drums and incorporates that into his live performances, and word on the street is that his shows are definitely worth catching.

You may have to wait to catch Anderson Paak live, though. He just performed at The Roxy, and there’s no sign of upcoming tour dates. It might not be too long of a wait given his love for LA, but in the mean time, you can tide yourself over with tunes from Venice or dig even deeper into the past and check out his work as Breezy Lovejoy.

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Anderson Paak