It’s one of the most enigmatic partnerships in this day and age; Knxwledge and Anderson .Paak, two artists that just keep on delivering. So when the world was made acquainted with the NxWorries collaboration, the product of these two like minded heads, who unveiled the fruits of their dual efforts with the release of the Link Up & Suede EP back in December, it became clear this project had dream-team potential.
Taking care of production, Knxwledge is cream of the crop. Craved by rappers worldwide for his slick beats, finesse of the sample and reworks of R&B classics, he has been billing some seriously high profile features, earning due respect as one of the most prolific producers in the game. As the vocals counterpart, .Paak is having an equally fruitful 2016; barely a year since the release of his second studio album Malibu, he’s established himself as a real all-rounder, the man of many trades, ducking in and out of all walks of music, and getting people hooked with his smooth personality.
Now NxWorries are back under the wing of Stonesthrow Records with their joint album YesLawd! flaunting nineteen tracks that confirm why we should have got excited by Link Up & Suede in the first place. .Paak sets the bar high with the album's opener Livvin, showering heartfelt lyrics of success over Knxwledge’s rolling soul-retrospective loop, and swiftly establishing himself as one of the leading soul artists operating today. After a brief interlude that blends dispute through to rehearsal, Knxwledge and Paak fall into Wings, which houses such a fine piano hook you’ll find yourself trying to replicate it on the air keys.
The YesLawd! Adlib runs throughout the project, its gospel undertones strutting hand-in-hand with the womaniser profile .Paak casts of himself in prayer-esque composition, What More Can I Say. .Paak continues to publicise his love for women in tracks like Lyk Dis, the single that lit the red carpet, leading the way for the album's release. Having been teased with its existence at the end of the Suede video it’s been a pleasure to hear at full length.
Growing up on a rich diet of gospel and hip-hop Knxwledge is the soul of the project, his productions charged with influence from the past and respectful nods to sounds of the present. It’s a well-rounded sphere that both compliments and takes full advantage of .Paak’s voice as a percussive instrument in its own right. Can’t Stop is Knxwledge’s opportunity to step into the limelight with a direct homage to childhood hero J Dilla, forming an interlude that feels momentarily and thoroughly enlightening.
NxWorries is the union of soul, hip-hop, glitch, and two artists that continue to surpass levels in the elevator to the top as they showcase their success and chase their progression. And as probably the most exciting Stonesthrow partnerships to put out an album since MF Doom and Madlib, the future is certainly bright for NxWorries.
Words: Charlie Fyfe