.Paak’s big break came when last spring, when an Aftermath A&R rep called him in to sing over a beat for an unnamed Dr. Dre project. He was skeptical, but when he got to the studio, the G-funk legend was there, ready to hear the song that earned .Paak the invite.
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"I was like, 'Oh, shit -- Dre hasn't heard 'Suede' yet,' " .Paak recently told Billboard, referring to the woozy viral hit by his NxWorries duo with producer Knxwledge.
"I'm thinking he might just cut it off and walk out the room; he's notorious for that. But he started bobbing his head, then says, 'Play that again.' And he cranked it, bro -- I mean, it hurt my ears. After the third time, he was like, 'All right. Let's work.' "
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The demo .Paak went in for wound up on Dre's Compton album (No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, with a Grammy nom for best rap album, too), as did seven other songs sporting his raspy pipes, including standout solo track "Animals," which he had written with DJ Premier for a solo release.
On Jan. 15, .Paak released his second LP, Malibu (Steel Wool/OBE/Art Club), with guest stars as diverse as Schoolboy Q, The Game, Talib Kweli and jazz keyboardist Robert Glasper, and a hip-hop dream team of producers including underground icons 9th Wonder, Hi-Tek and Madlib.
There will be a NxWorries full-length in 2016 too, on esteemed indie label Stones Throw.