Monday night Mayfest announced the first artist for the Dillo Day lineup. Anderson .Paak, a rapper and singer from the West Coast, and his band, The Free Nationals are officially performing at the infamous campus festival.
Anderson .Paak began making music under the pseudonym Breezy Lovejoy in 2009. Three years later he released his debut album, “O.B.E. Vol. 1,” and the following year he came out with an all-covers EP titled “Cover Art.”
According to .Paak’s Wikipedia page, the inspiration for “Cover Art” were white artists of the 1950s who remade songs by Black blues and R&B singers, attain commercial success, and fail to give the original artists credit or compensation. Because of this the EP reworks rock and folk classes, transforming them back into soul, R&B, and hip-hop hits. A year following this EP, in 2014, .Paak released “Venice,” his first album using the name Anderson .Paak.
Before his music career really took off though, .Paak worked on a marijuana farm in Santa Barbara selling drugs on the side to support his wife and son.
“Those years create so much character,” .Paak said during a March interview with GQ Magazine. .Paak has used this character and growth to create soulful music. In doing so, his music garnered the attention of Dr. Dre and landedhim the opportunity to be featured on six songs in Dr. Dre’s 2015 album “Compton.”
Dr. Dre isn’t the only star .Paak has been working with. In addition to his six features on “Compton,” he performed on two songs on The Game’s 2015 album “The Documentary 2.” He has also collaborated on material with ScHoolboy Q and 9th Wonder.
In January of this year .Paak released his album “Malibu,” which reached the Top Ten of the Billboard hip-hop charts. During the same month he announced via Twitter that he signed to Dr. Dre’s record label, Aftermath Entertainment.
“He’s just blowing up, and we thought that would be the perfect vibe for a Dillo Day performance,” Yumiko Mannarelli, Mayfest director of concerts, told The Daily Northwestern.
Just last month .Paak & The Free Nationals took the stage at South by Southwest, an annual music, film, and interactive festival held in Austin, Texas, where they won the Grulke Prize for Developing US Act. The Grulke prize is an award handed out annually at the festival that has three categories. According to the South by Southwest website, The Developing US Act Prize is for “artists who are breaking new ground with their creativity and show the most promise in achieving their career goals.”
With such an impressive track record, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals are sure to put on an amazing show. Catch them May 21 at Dillo Day and if you can’t wait, check out their Soundcloud, it’s worth the listen.