Three years ago, Mass Appeal released a video series documenting the musical life of Anderson .Paak, a relatively unestablished name in 2015. A short segment of the fifth episode showed .Paak collaborating with rap king Kendrick Lamar during a studio session. .Paak riffed over an incredibly in-the-pocket beat with his signature gritty timbre as K-Dot bounced along to his left; unfortunately, the clip was cut before Kendrick contributed any lines, and viewers were left salivating at thoughts of what the rapper could do with such a track. The snippet naturally bounced around hip-hop news outlets on social media, and speculation of an officially released .Paak-Kendrick collaboration brewed for years.
This past week, .Paak released “Tints,” a single featuring Lamar. Fans finally have in their grasps what they’d patiently waited for for so long — kind of. The track is very groovy and features pretty solid contributions from the two stars. But, it’s pretty flat throughout its four-and-a-half-minute runtime, lacking the special “unf” that the artists typically bring to a project: no uniquely soulful melodies from .Paak, no strange-but-catchy vocal inflections from Kendrick. The hook is fine, but it isn’t stuck in my head. Lamar’s verse is well-done, but it doesn’t augment the track the way a Lamar verse should.
All in all, the effort seems to pale in comparison to the potential of the collaborative effort that sparked demands for a .Paak-Lamar track three years ago; however, the artists did deliver a collaboration, and this fact is perhaps more exciting than the single itself.