Why Lawd? by NxWorries album review by Tuhin Chakrabarti for Northern Transmissions. The duo's LP is now available via Stones Throw Records


Why Lawd?


In the age of young white avatars in rap, OGs like Anderson Paak have pivoted from “Yes Lawd!” to “Why Lawd?” As an aging artist, who’s “young” but still with “sons in the game,” this album indeed presents a disgruntled sigh — or a blasé, hedonistic last hurrah for the second half of the game. Aging is a confusing balancing act, but Knxwledge came in swinging for an 8-year reunion album that is still among the most virtuosic and downright inimitable crate-digging beat-making of the 2010s. Along with Paak’s persuasive, ‘70s-revivalist vocabulary, we are immersed in an album of tightly wound concepts, a battle-scarred duo coming back around to raise their flag, just in case we forgot.

Knxwledge is an iconoclast of internet-era beatmakers, heralding in the sound of the modern “flip”that foregoes fidelity for the sake of style, like a mashup but more refined. Like, who has the range to put City Girls over a smooth neo-soul sample? Some call it lofi hiphop, but given that it is usually of studio quality a categorization like that only falls short. In reality, the sound is much more: an archival exploration that tries to mitigate old and new. To prove that the youth “knows something about that” while also being in frequency with the radio waves of the upcoming generation.

Knx embodies his role as the key holder of with so much confidence that only Anderson Paak could be a worthy collaborator. As the next best power couple of smooth operator, debonair rap&b, this album is nothing short of Paak’s ability to polish ‘70s pastiche into an authentic performance is powerful — enough to make The Guardian clutch their pearls at his use of “bitch” as an adlib, an expressive grunt. He accentuates his (well-earned) egotism with church- inspired “mms” and guttural “mmphs.” Like in the line “Told ’em from the start, we takin’ no shorts / They gon’ remember if nothin’ else that a n*gga was long-winded / (Mmm).”

Harkening back to their electrifying livestream performance at the Double Happiness festival in 2020, where a stripped-down rendition of “Where I Go” showcased their raw energy and charisma, Why Lawd? expands on that intimacy. The album retains the charm and showmanship needed to command a stadium (Anderson Paak does not let you forget that he’s performed the Super Bowl) while delving deeper into the complexities of relationships and self-discovery. Knxwledge’s production, characterized by his innovative sampling and genre-bending style, adds layers of sonic richness that elevate each track beyond mere nostalgia.

Anderson .Paak’s lyrical prowess is on full display, weaving tales of love, heartbreak, and personal redemption with a magnetic blend of bravado and vulnerability. Tracks like “86Sentra” and “KeepHer” juxtapose his charismatic swagger with moments of introspection, where he confronts the consequences of his actions with unflinching honesty.

Why Lawd? ‘s thematic coherence is underscored by its ability to blend disparate emotions and musical influences into a cohesive whole. “HereIAm” and “OutTheWay” serve as poignant bookends, with mournful organ chords giving way to buoyant synths and infectious rhythms. Each track feels like a chapter in a larger narrative, revealing different facets of Anderson .Paak’s persona as a lover, father and a son. He confronts the consequences of his actions with unflinching honesty, seamlessly shifting between verse and croon.

Order Why Lawd? by NxWorries HERE


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