Rapper/singer Anderson .Paak and musician/producer Knxwledge are having quite the eventful summer.
The LA-based duo, known as NxWorries (pronounced “no worries”), is opening up for MC/Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt on tour. (They make a stop at the Ritz Saturday.) But both men have been making career-advancing moves separately, especially .Paak, an artist who has a period at the top of his last name because “the dot represents detail, and the detail is what (people) gotta pay attention to now, because of all the years they didn’t pay attention to me. So, now they gotta pay attention.” People are certainly paying attention to him, since his name can be found all over the credits on Dr. Dre’s recently released “Compton” album.
The Oxnard-born .Paak (full name: Brandon Anderson Paak), one of many young-turk artists who appear on the guest-filled album (Raleigh rapper King Mez is also featured prominently), appears on six tracks. It all happened when Dre’s stable of beatmakers at his Aftermath label approached him about going in the studio. “They hit me up one night and they said, ‘Do you want to work with [producer] DJ Dahi for a song on Dr. Dre’s project,’” says .Paak, 21. “And I was like, ‘The Dr. Dre (expletive) sounds a little far-fetched. That probably won’t happen, but I’m super-down to work with Dahi.’”
Little did .Paak know that he’d actually meet the man himself that night. “We get to the studio and the first two people I see are Dr. Dre and [rapper/writer] The D.O.C.,” he says, “and they’re just chilling in there, watching the playoffs.”
According to .Paak, Dre was down to collaborate with him, especially after hearing the pimpalicious NxWorries single “Suede.” “They played ‘Suede’ for Dre and Dre runs that [expletive] back, like, three times,” he says. “And, after the third time, he’s like, ‘Yo, let’s work.’ So, then, he throws on the beat that Dahi sent and that was ‘All in a Day’s Work.’ And that was the first song we worked on.”
While his partner Knxwledge (real name: Glenn Macnaughton Boothe) didn’t work on “Compton,” he was involved with another high-profile Aftermath release this year: Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.” New Jersey-born and Philadelphia-bred, Knxwledge (who replaced the “o” in his name to an “x” as a shout-out to his dad, who sold Cross Colours gear, which has a logo that consists of an “x” inside a circle) co-produced the tune “Momma” for Lamar.
“It was actually a song from maybe six years ago, or a beat rather,” remembers Knxwledge, 27, who not only has produced songs for other rappers (Blu, Homeboy Sandman), but has also reportedly released 64 releases via his Bandcamp page. “And Stones Throw put it on this anthology, which was pretty much a makeup of a bunch of stuff I did – pretty much a Bandcamp compilation, but not even everything.”
A photographer buddy of his was playing his compilation during a magazine photo shoot he had with Lamar, who obviously liked what he heard. “I got a text message immediately, like, ‘Yeah, man – this is the one!’” he says.
While both these men have had time to work in the lab with superstar hip-hop talent, they’re now concentrating on getting their own stuff out there as NxWorries.
Earlier this week, the video for “Suede” (released on West Coast hip-hop label Stones Throw) officially dropped, which will lead to a full-length album to be released sometime in the future. .Paak is also putting finishing touches on “Malibu,” his follow-up to his 2014 album “Venice.”
But mostly they’re looking to give audiences a transcendent experience when they perform live. “They should be filled with the holy spirit,” says .Paak. “You should feel like you just walked out of church on Easter Sunday.” Adds Knxwledge, hinting at what to expect from their collaborative debut, “This album is church, if I have to say any details. It’s a very vulgar church sermon, if you want to categorize it.”
Who: Earl Sweatshirt, with NxWorries and Remy Banks
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Ritz, 2820 Industrial Drive, Raleigh