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Anderson .Paak: The Unofficial MVP Of SXSW

With a confirmed classic on the way.

Kymmi Cee // REVOLT

Anderson .Paak’s name has remained afloat since his January release, Malibu, and it’s not just because of its critical success.

Shortly after releasing his sophomore album, news broke that he was the latest artist to sign with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath imprint. A few weeks later, in all of Beyoncé’s post "Formation" glory, she indirectly shot him a co-sign by adding .Paak to her "Hot Sauce" playlist on Tidal, dubbed after her infamous “got hot sauce in my bag, swag” line. Her song of choice: "The Bird."

Now, fast-forward a month later and we’re at SXSW where Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals played a total of 12 shows. He was on every major bill, including our #REVOLTon6 held at the Vulcan.

Anderson .Paak performing at #REVOLTon6.
Anderson .Paak performing at #REVOLTon6.

“What’s that about?” and “Why’s Anderson .Paak on some many bills?" easily served as a top Texas inquiry only to be answered the moment his performance was witnessed for a second time.

As a SXSW attendee, it became nearly impossible not to catch at least two Anderson .Paak shows, which, in normal circumstances, can quickly get repetitive or uninteresting, but on the contrary. Each and every one of his shows was just as eventful, just as vibrant and just as lively as the first—if not more!

The beauty about Anderson.Paak is that he gave something new each and every time, despite the same set list. How he does it can remain his own secret for the time being.

Those "Anderson .Paak's performing everywhere" conversations morphed into “Anderson .Paak’s set was SOOOO good” and “I can’t wait to see him again.”

A great SXSW tip to all up-and-coming artists was tweeted by a favorite music industry figure, Amir Abbassy, better known as @BlameTheLabel on multiple social platforms.

"If you are not a good performer, don't perform,” he tweeted. "Practice until you get it right.”

Was this Anderson .Paak's secret? After all, “practice makes perfect,” right?

Yes, his music is arguably great, but that in itself is not enough of a, even at best mediocre, selling point. A number of artists at SXSW, to be left unnamed, did themselves a disservice by going out there and performing in front of crowds who might yet not have been familiar with music. First impressions matter and those who bombed their live shows only sent themselves back to the drawing board. As an artist who’d already solidified himself in his own space, as well as both Beyoncé and Dre’s radar, Anderson could have without a doubt been one of “those.” Instead, he, did, that (wasn't one of "those" if you follow).

Anderson .Paak crashing Hannah Rad's DJ set.
Anderson .Paak crashing Hannah Rad's DJ set.

Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals embodied (and bodied) South by Southwest. Together, they crossed a threshold, certain to fuel them onto the next level. If you didn’t already know who Anderson was, or what his band was about, after South by, you KNEW and mostly importantly, wanted to know more. And whether you took him seriously before or not, now you have no choice but to. Anderson .Paak is next. And while we’re talking about what’s to come, keep an eye out for his next single. According to .Paak there’s a “classic’s on the way.”

Check it out for yourselves below.

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