NxWorries’ “Yes Lawd!” uses pleasing but repetitive old-school formula

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"Yes Lawd!"

Photo courtesy // Stones Throw Records

If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you’ve probably been implored to “name a more iconic duo” than a number of pop-culture pairings, from Obama and Biden to Kendall and Kylie. But NxWorries, a collaborative hip-hop and R&B project consisting of Los Angeles-based producer Knxwledge and neo-soul superstar Anderson .Paak, is making its push for the top spot with its new album, “Yes Lawd!”

Right off the bat, “Livvin” tells you everything you need to know about the 19 tracks you’re about to hear. It’s smooth, old school and soulful, with a heavily sample-driven beat, which is what you can expect throughout the entire 48-minute ride.

By the time “Best One” and “What More Can I Say” have passed, .Paak’s unabashed charm is already spilling from every nook and cranny of the music. He has a voice that never gets old and sings lyrics that always seem to have a surprise or two hidden in them.

“Lyk Dis,” despite having been a fairly successful single, marks the point in which boredom will set in if a smooth-to-death record isn’t exactly what you were in the mood to listen to. There’s nothing wrong with it exactly, but with the instrumental and lyrical content both being far less than spectacular, some monotonous tendencies begin to shine through.

Fortunately, “Get Bigger / Do U Luv,” another big single, does a great job of breaking the slump with a groove that makes you bob your head along to the beat. .Paak takes a confident look into the hustle that brought him success with ice-cold lines like, “At night, I workin’ grave, just counting the time. On my break I wrote a song ’bout the love of my life.”

“H.A.N.” is a feat in and of itself, with musical charisma taken to another level. A heavy dose of humor doesn’t detract from the music in the least, and a skit-like sermon from .Paak is nothing short of hysterical.

The album then makes its way to “Suede,” a song that introduced the world to NxWorries in the first place back in 2015. This song is the highlight the duo’s work thus far. The opening line, “Smoother than a motherf***er,” is the operative phrase here.

After “Suede,” the last six tracks on “Yes Lawd!” seem to serve as a funky-but-gradual fade out more than anything, with the only notable moments coming on “Sidepiece” and “Link Up.”

The album as a whole is funky, smooth, unapologetic and charismatic: a definite musical accomplishment. But, it’s also difficult to listen through from start to finish without having your ears glaze over at the homogenous sound. Old-school samples with minimalistic drums accompanied by strong, if not melodically safe, vocals comprise a tried-and-true formula, but 16 tracks of that in a row with little variation is almost a formula for sleep medication.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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