Review: Ventura by Anderson .Paak

Review: Ventura by Anderson .Paak

Ventura album cover
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Ventura, by Anderson .Paak

Ventura is a nice trip down memory lane, because of the tones of his vocals, and through the wonderful instrumentals, but with some fresh thrown in. I may get some hate for this, but I’m kind of glad he didn’t throw Kendrick Lamar on this one, as it allows Paak to shine a little more of his own accord.

  • Lyrics
  • Instrumentation
  • Production
  • Features
  • Personal Preference
4.2
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Review

Lyrics
None of the songs on Ventura particularly struck me as insightful or moving in any way that I hadn’t heard before, but then again, none of them struck me as bad or cringe either. It’s kind of a middle-of-the-road album as far as that goes, but considering how many bad albums as I’ve heard recently, it’s still a breath of fresh air. “Chosen One” had some Weeknd vibes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. (Fair note: if you’re trying to avoid political topics, you may not want to listen to King James, but then again, if you’re trying to avoid politics, you should probably avoid entertainment altogether. It shouldn’t be that way, in my opinion, but it is.)
Instrumentation
The Hip-Hop/Soul instrumentals are amazing. Something just makes me feel good when I hear the history inside the beats. Pharrell had a nice, playful addition on “Twilight.” A little piece of random knowledge: Paak played the drums on a few of these tracks. Multi-talented artists are always a boon to the genre.
Production
Focus… and Dr. Dre stick to form with solid mixes on every track on this album. They manage to invoke an old school feeling, without sacrificing the audio fidelity. There’s really nothing I can say negatively about the production, except that I’m jealous of their skills haha.
Features
Andre 3000 showed he still has what it takes with the verbosity haha. There’s an appearance from Motown legend Smokey Robinson. It doesn’t get much more high profile than that, in my eyes. Fredwreck had some Nate Dogg songs in the back catalog, so Nate‘s appearance on “What Can We Do?” was a nice posthumous surprise from another legend. While Brandy isn’t a name you hear as much these days, it’s always a pleasure to hear her sing! Her addition with “Jet Black” was solid, as you would expect from a veteran. That’s probably the song that gets added to my chill playlist. Sonyaè Elise was kinda…meh on “Chosen One.”. Jazmine Sullivan wasn’t too bad, as a decent counterpoint to Paak in “Good Heels,” even if the song was barely long enough to even constitute a song. Lalah Hathaway provided some additional vocals on “Reachin’ 2 Much,” but they were listed as a feature for some reason.
Personal Preference
Considering the genre, I’m game for any and all additions. I’m old, so I grew up on sounds similar to these, and it’s always nice to go back. I love the approach that Paak had on this one, and I wouldn’t be upset if he did another one. I’d just suggest that he use some of his talents to push an envelope a little different than the safe political one he touched on a few times.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so feel free to drop into the comments and let me know what you think. I’m always down for criticism, positive or negative.

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