Before he was Anderson .Paak, Brandon Anderson Paak was Breezy Lovejoy—a ridiculous name, particularly for a modern-day singer and rapper, but there’s also something beautifully old-fashioned to it. The moniker speaks to the basic philosophy that music should heal, that it is rooted in kindness. This belief seems to still be central to the 30-year-old’s character now that he’s Anderson .Paak, recent Aftermath signee. When he shows up to breakfast in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, hungover after performing on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” he relates a horrifying story about his upbringing, the kind that might engulf another person’s life in darkness entirely, but there is no self-pity or rancor in his voice whatsoever.
“My dad went to prison for drug abuse and domestic abuse for beating my mom,” he says, casually, slipping an Alka-Seltzer into his water glass. “The last time I saw him he was on top of her, blood in the streets. I was, like, 7 years old. He did 14 and a half years in prison. The next time I saw him, he was being buried.” His father was a Navy man who was honorably discharged for marijuana and spiraled downward upon his return home: “My mom tried to get into him to rehab, but that didn't work out. Before we knew it, he felt some type of way about my mom, and eventually decided he wanted to kill her.” He pauses. “My mom says he was an amazing dad, but once the drugs got ahold, he went haywire.”