Label: Stones Throw
Released: Oct. 21

“And now you say I changed/Like I'm doing all of this to stay the same,” Anderson Paak raps on “Starlite,” summing up his glorious 2016. Between his solo album, Malibu, his crucial contributions to Schoolboy Q’s Blank Face LP, his appearances on A Tribe Called Quest’s return and Mac Miller’s best project to date, and his collaborative album with Stones Throw producer Knwledge, Paak put his entire foot in this year. You couldn’t avoid him if you tried, and no project he touched had quite the same flavor. For my money, Yes Lawd! is his finest work to date: by turns crass, ridiculous, beautiful, and constantly surprising. He plays a character on the album—think Curtis Mayfield's Superfly—and it frees him to play with '70s soul conventions and song structure, to create hilarious skits and embody the crazy joy encapsulated in the album’s frequent exclamation: Yes Lawd!

“Scared Money,” “Wngs,” “H.A.N.,” “Suede,” “Sidepiece,” “Livvin,” “Link Up”—the album is stacked. It’s like the score to an unproduced Blaxploitation musical. “Bitch, I want you in my life for all of my days,” Paak belts near the album's end; the misogyny might shut some listeners down, but at the bottom of that declaration there’s a total admission of prostrate weakness and real twisted humor. —Ross Scarano