Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Anderson .Paak: Malibu [OBE/Steel Wool/ArtClub/Empire, 2016]
Between his Afro-Korean roots and his Kendrick-topping Compton cameos, it's tempting to read too much into this long-breaking, genre-busting, musically adept rapper-singer-drummer. Right, he's made an album about enjoying success without overdoing the cars and chains. But the most cultural song here is the staying-alive crowd-pleaser "Celebrate," where the operative metaphor is "fixin' up the tree"--the endangered family tree he husbands belatedly throughout. Culturally, however, the trouble he puts up with from the woman he loves is a bigger deal. Assume she's one woman and assume he loves her as much as ever--the biographical .Paak is married with a son no longer a toddler. Assume too that he was cruising for all the trouble she could give him. A-