NxWorries - Yes Lawd! LP

(Stones Throw, 2016)

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"'Livvin' is triumph incarnate, a new entry in the tradition of 'ashy-to-classy' tracks like 'Juicy' and 'Touch the Sky.' (Anderson) .Paak preaches the gospel of success in between rolling drums, mellow horns, and a church choir. His voice’s inextricability from the music is a testament to his chemistry with a producer steeped in the tradition of the beat scene godheads, Dilla and Madlib. (.Paak and Knx, whose real name is Glen Boothe, have merged their names into NxWorries, an apparent nod to the definitive Stones Throw duos, Jaylib and Madvillain.)

.Paak’s sudden stardom, largely due to his work with Dre and to this year’s Malibu, his extraordinary third album, might tempt listeners to give him the credit for Yes Lawd!’s many successes. But the record, which includes tracks recorded between early 2015 and March 2016, is first and foremost a beat tape, stacked with beautiful little donuts, most of which don’t pass the three-minute mark. Knx was raised on church music, hip-hop radio, and J Dilla, and the rich instrumentals here are loaded with tributes to all three.

The records that .Paak and Boothe admire, the classic Stones Throw collaborations, found two artists working at the absolute height of their talents. Madvillainy, in particular, was a perfect match between an internal rhyme genius in Doom and a beatmaking savant in Madlib. That album, released in 2004, remains a high water mark in Stones Throw’s history. .Paak and Knx are both so talented that it seems fair to hold them to that standard. And what’s astonishing here is the way they manage to forge a sound nearly as rich and original as that of America’s most blunted. One of the few disappointing things about the largely terrific Yes Lawd! is the way that Knx outdoes .Paak, but the rapper/singer is at the beginning of a bright career in which he’s already demonstrated his ability to write rich lyrics—this record, which includes some of the most beautiful songs he’s made yet, has far more to be proud of than not. It’s another major accomplishment in .Paak’s continued rise." - Jonah Bromwich for Pitchfork