NxWorries: Why Lawd? review – Anderson .Paak takes his divorce really badly

Estimated read time 2 min read

While the second outing for Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge’s two-man supergroup NxWorries recaptures the soft-edged nostalgia-funk sound of their 2016 debut Yes Lawd!, the lyrical vibe is much darker and more uncertain. It’s Paak’s first album since splitting from Jaylyn Chang, his wife of 13 years and mother of his two children, and the singer/rapper is deep in the slough of divorcee despondency – wildly switching moods between anger, self-pity and desperate horniness.

NxWorries: Why Lawd? album coverView image in fullscreen

Why Lawd? plays like a 21st-century update of Here, My Dear, Marvin Gaye’s notoriously bitter farewell to ex-wife Anna Gordy. But while Paak’s leathery, weathered vocal is soulful, he is an unlikable narrator. He is adept at charting his own heartache, moaning “I can’t do the same things I used to do” on MoveOn. But it’s harder to empathise with his whining about prenups, his snarls of “Bitch, you supposed to be with me” (KeepHer), and his calling his new girl a “dumb bitch” as he fumes over his ex’s social media activity. Paak’s ugly spite quickly wears out its welcome – even his mum sounds bored of her offspring’s sour self-pity on MoreOfIt.

Knxwledge’s dulcet productions keeps things sweet, stitching together Stylistics sitars and shimmering, Georgie Fame sound-beds to sculpt a dreamy 70s soul sound. And when Paak stumbles upon a rare moment of emotional clarity, singing “I understand it was my own fault / I had to find out for myself” on SheUsed, it’s a truly moving moment. But mostly, you’ll be taking his ex’s side throughout Why Lawd?, which probably isn’t what Paak intended.

Source: theguardian.com

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