After years of obscurity under the name Breezy Lovejoy, Anderson .Paak reinvented himself and found his sound. His roller coaster journey took him from a local artist to the cover of the 2016 XXL Freshman Class. "I watched for lots of years different people grace the cover so it’s really surreal to be in the room now," the 30-year old crooner from Oxnard, Calif. tells XXL in his Freshman interview.

Since 2014, Anderson's career has done a complete 180. He released Venice, his third album overall and first under the name Anderson .Paak, to rave reviews. In 2015, he followed up this LP with his self-titled EP with L.A. producers Blended Babies, formed a group with Knxwledge called NxWorries, dropped their Link Up & Suede EP, became Dr. Dre's newest protégé. Plus, he was featured all over Compton, the soundtrack to Straight Outta Compton.

By the top of 2016 with the hype behind him, the free-spirited artist released the album Malibu. With singles like "The Season / Carry Me," "Am I Wrong" featuring ScHoolboy Q, "Room in Here" featuring Sonyae Elise and The Game and "Come Down," the project received critical acclaim and propelled Anderson to a national name.

"It was just a lot of preparations, working in the gym and my gym is the studio," he says.
A lot of sitting, watching and a lot of patience. I put a lot of time in trying to develop good work habits."

As his popularity builds and A.P. tours alongside his band The Free Nationals, the spotlight will only get brighter. Next up is the NxWorries debut album, which he says is pretty much done. The fantastic thing about Anderson .Paak is his versatility. He can sing the love song of the year, take you to church and drop a verse that will leave you flabbergasted, all within one single project. That's what makes him a 2016 XXL Freshman; there's no denying his talent.

Watch Anderson .Paak discuss his long journey in music above and drop bars in his Freshman freestyle below plus take a look at his best behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot.

See Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Anderson .Paak at 2016 XXL Freshman Class Cover Shoot

See Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Anderson .Paak at 2016 XXL Freshman Class Cover Shoot

Freestyle directed by @travissatten and produced by

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