Free Nationals

LLC / EMPIREOBE

Hip-hop of the grooviest order is presented to you here by Free Nationals. Anderson .Paak’s choice touring band slides into their own on their self-titled debut album, rolling out a smorgasbord of funky songs featuring a stacked line-up of R&B’s most sublime artists. 

Free Nationals cruise through low-key funk at a delicious pace that can only be described as slow motion, sped up. Kelsey Gonzalez, Ron Avant, Callum Connor and José Rios lasso in their signature mix of bass, keyboard and vocoder, drums and guitar, wrapping it in cosmic velvet. 

“Obituaries” with Shafiq Husayn’s booming, plush vocals are a spaced-out send-off into Daniel Caesar’s über sexy “Beauty & Essex.” The album sways to lyrics about lovin’ and chillin’ and huntin’ (for post-breakup apartments, specifically.) 

.Paak makes his body-moving cameo on “Gidget,” an obvious highlight of the thirteen tracks, and T.I.’s two-minute, slack-jawed fast-rap “Cut Me A Break” makes hands wanna lose gravity. Chronixx’s reggae vibes saunter on “Eternal Light” and Kali Uchis and the late Mac Miller converse beautifully on “Time.” 

Yeah, their collaborations speak of serious street cred, but Free Nationals prove their own swagger is on a path worth following. 

Best Track: Oslo

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