This weekend is going to start off very sweet at the Ventura County Fairgrounds outside of Los Angeles. Not only is Anderson .Paak performing as part of the annual .Paak House event, but there will also be plenty of Häagen-Dazs on hand, as the iconic ice cream brand is one of the sponsors of the 37-year-old’s charitable endeavor. A cookies and cream fan growing up, .Paak has converted to the brand’s new Butter Cookie Cone in the lead-up to the event, as have his children. “I moved to the cone,” he tells InsideHook. “That’s evolution, man.”
Evolution is a topic that .Paak — aka Breezy Lovejoy aka Cheeky Andy aka DJ Pee .Wee — knows quite a bit about, as his music has shifted and developed greatly since his 2014 studio album debut Venice. As the eight-time Grammy winner is clearly well-versed in all things music, we thought he’d be the perfect candidate to discuss the song of the summer as warmer weather arrives and Memorial Day approaches. (And no, COVID didn’t kill the annual feel-good phenomenon.) Here’s what .Paak had to say.
InsideHook: When you think about a song of the summer, what comes to mind?
Anderson .Paak: Summer is a good time for people to get outside of their houses, connect with nature, listen to music, dance and get active. Any song that helps you do that, whether it’s fast or slow, that’s what it’s about for the summertime. I like stuff that has a little tempo to it and positive vibes. Maybe some Silk Sonic. Maybe some Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff or Chaka Khan. I’m from the West Coast, so I think Snoop, Dre or Kurupt are always great for summertime vibes. I’m always a fan of the old school. Frankie Beverly & Maze and Earth, Wind & Fire have some great summertime jams. As long as it’s something that gets you moving. That’s what summer jams are about.
IH: Are there any musical characteristics that summer songs traditionally share?
AP: Everyone’s different, but for me, summer means warm weather and freedom. You’re cruising down the street, just got your car washed and feeling good in your new outfit or you’re walking down the park and you hear a jam playing in a sound system. So, I think music with a lot of space and dynamics is good. Usually, it’s stuff that is not too cluttered with too much information that you can put on and let your mind go free. Maybe the one characteristic of a summertime jam is it has a lot of space and a little tempo. The tempo varies because there are smooth, slower songs that are good summertime jams, too. It just has to have the freedom that people need to open their minds so their asses can follow.
IH: How do you usually listen to your music in the summertime?
AP: If you’re around me, I always have a big JBL boombox with me. If I walk by, you’ll probably hear some jams and bust some moves. We’ll be doing some traveling this year, so I’ll take it to the airport and everything. I’ll be blasting it through the terminals. It’s a good way to see what kind of vibe the city is on. Are they gonna call the cops on me? Are they gonna dance? Are they gonna be rude or happy? It’s a good way to measure the vibe of where I’m at when I’m blasting music through TSA.
IH: Do you usually get positive or negative reactions?
AP: A little bit of both, but it’s mainly positive. People love it. They’ll look around like, “Where’s that music coming from?” I’m usually playing some old-school stuff. I try to keep it family-friendly when I’m in public. I think it lifts people’s spirits.
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