It’s a common feature within Hip Hop to have a producer and emcee that combine to make a duo, with Eric B & Rakim, GangStarr and Pete Rock & CL Smooth being prominent examples. What is less common is a producer teaming up with a singer to create something similar, but that’s just what Knxledge and Anderson .Paak have done, conceiving NxWorries.
The pair first emerged as NxWorries via their single, ‘Suede’, which was the lead track from their 2015 debut EP, Link Up & Suede. The positive response prompted the development of the full-length project, Yes Lawd! The album is a continuation of the seeds that were sewn on the EP, and if you’re a fan of either Knxledge or Paak, you’re likely to appreciate what they’ve come up with as a team.
The distinctive, Madlib-influenced production style that Knxledge possesses, alongside the vocal delivery of Paak, generates a reinterpretation of the timeless 70s/80s soul sound for a 21st century audience, with ‘Best One’, ‘What More Can I Say’, ‘Kutless’ & ‘Sidepiece’ being exceptional examples. With that being said, the musicians also manage to evoke memories of the fabled Neo-Soul era of the late 90s/early 2000s on tracks like ‘Wngs’, ‘Lyk Dis’ & ‘Get Bigger / Do U Luv’.
Paak’s lyrical content ranges from classic love songs (to match the classic soul elements), to some of the harsher realities of his life and relationships (to remind listeners of its modern analysis). The singer/songwriter resumes his inspiring form from Malibu – his impressive album from earlier this year, and such are the brilliant recent performances of Paak, the album has no guest features, allowing the duo to fully cement their working relationship.
Despite the many gems among the 19 tracks, there is a feeling that the album contains a collection of snippets, with the entire project a mere 48 minutes, and just 5 songs exceeding the 3-minute mark. This might be due to the loop-based production style of Knxledge not being conducive of longer tracks, comparable to the MF DOOM & Madlib album, Madvilliany, which, despite also being comprised of 19 tracks, is only 42 minutes in duration.
When you combine two very talented artists, more often than not, you’re going to create something remarkable, and that is the case with Yes Lawd! The mixture of the classic soul sound with a modern twist is executed superbly, potentially appealing to several generations. It’s not known how long Knxledge and Anderson .Paak will perform as NxWorries, but if this is their Madvilliany equivalent, they’ve certainly left listeners with nothing to worry about.