Anderson .Paak — Winners Circle

In Anderson .Paak parlance, “Yes Lawd!” God dammit, this track is so slick.

Winners Circle hails from Anderson .Paak’s latest record, Ventura. Written at the same time as his November 2018, Dr. Dre-produced and now Grammy-winning album Oxnard, but released just three weeks ago in April, Ventura feels like an under-the-radar sleeper LP. Compared to the hype, anticipation, big build-up and media blitz that supported Oxnard (heightened by the real stylistic/artistic left turn it marked), Paak dropped Ventura with a whisper.

Fine by me. Keep it quiet. Because as much as I appreciate the energy and flash and sizzle of Oxnard (and respect Paak for stretching out a bit), I am much more down with the easygoing vintage vibe of Ventura.

Winner’s Circle showcases everything that Paak has going for him: A beast-mode band in The Free Nationals; a consistently strong sense of both beat and harmony, anchored in 70s funk and soul; a sing-song rap style that rides perfectly over a groove; and his trademark drumming chops and raspy vocals. The lyrics are relatively breezy, talking about the feelings of new love. But, it’s the killer groove and the shifting verses — each one slightly different — that drives this track. Gah, it’s so goooooooood!

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