I'll fight anyone who says Anderson .Paak isn't making some of the best music this year, but even more than the soul that permeates from every record he touches, it's his life story that's earning him loyal followers. If you have a dream that seems impossible, if you're ready to give up, Anderson's story is everything you need, and this Breakfast Club interview is a good breakdown of his story.
I first heard .Paak's story almost two years ago now during our Top Prospects interview. This was long before Dr. Dre, he had just dropped the Breezy Lovejoy name, so .Paak's story didn't yet have it's happy ending.
That meant that he was still a man who had watched both his parents go to prison growing up, who had quit music once to take care of his family, who was watching artists his age like Kendrick and Cole take off while he was homeless and couch hopping while trying to take care of his family, who had person after person tell him they didn't see any future in his music. It wasn't just months of the proverbial struggle, not just years, but years and years, and then some more years.
It was taking FOREVER. I had no direction, and I was just watching all these people pop off. Cole, Drake, Kendrick, all these people were the same age as me. Nobody wanted to fuck with me. Nobody wanted to hear me.
In theory it's easy to preach patience and perseverance, it's easy to say that your chance will come, and when it does you'll be better prepared to seize it because of all the years of struggle. But in reality, when the bills are mounting and your watching other people take off while feeling like you're being ignored, it can be hard, maybe impossible, to hold onto that hope.
Anderson .Paak is more than a great artist, he's also living proof that sometimes - rarely, but sometimes - that hope pays off. Yes lawd.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.
Photo Credits: Jorge Olazaba