When I'm patched through to Anderson .Paak's hotel room in London the morning after his album release date, his voice is hoarse. Not gravely rough in the way his gritty vocals grip the notes he harmonizes over on his brand-new soul-infused sophomore album Malibu, but the kind garnered from a night of rapturous performing during a sold-out Boiler Room-presented release party, across the world from where he started. That golden voice is tired, but pleasant - happy even - but more definitely, grateful.

The West Coast alt-rap pacemaker may refer to himself as a product of "the tube and the free lunch," on the spectral shape-shifting album - a sonic reproduction of his upbringing as the only son of two incarcerated parents, which left him homeless on the brink of starting his family and his career. But following a decade grind within LA's underground music scene, a single co-sign changed everything, when Dr. Dre tapped the soul maestro for six tracks off his long-awaited Detox-replacement LP, Compton. Now, following 10 years of growth and groundwork, .Paak is finally reaping the benefits of a vision uncompromised, with the release of one of the year's first anticipated records.

Anderson .Paak welcomes my call to his hotel room, where things are serene for just a moment, despite the mayhem surrounding Malibu and its immediate acclaim - and like his music, Anderson .Paak's gritty voice is what resonates through the speaker.

While Venice was completely fun, Malibu is an ultra-personal, life-reflective narrative in which you're basically the protagonist, the narrator and sometimes even the villain. Why was now the time to tell this story?

I think it's just in phases and I wanted to have fun first. I didn't want to just hit them with a bunch of personal and dark and reflective stuff right away. I kind of wanted to party first. I think that's what it was. I was still figuring it out, honestly.

Well, you've been through a lot so that's understandable that it would take time to process everything in order to turn it into art.

Yeah, exactly. Some of these experiences I've had and honestly, some of these songs I had that are really personal on the new album, I had them even before Venice, but I wanted to wait, just because of how things turned out on my past couple of releases that I put out under Breezy Lovejoy and how those were kind of more slept on. So I decided, you know what, I want to build this up more and these personal cuts, I want to save them for when it's time for me to tell my story and people are paying attention. And so, until then, let's have fun. I needed to figure out even what I wanted to do vocally and production-wise, and figure out what sounds best and meet people. Let me gain some more experiences. I had no clue about some of the things that were going to be happening. I'm glad I did wait.

The puzzle pieces came together. In my review of the album, I wrote that your syncopated flow, your soul harmonies and trap cadences dig their dirty fingernails into your words, which scribble over music notes with a golden pen, identifying your sins and reliving your glories. That was my take on your writing. What was the actual process of writing your story on Malibu like?

A lot of the album was built around three or four tunes. 'The Bird,' 'Celebrate,' 'Parking Lot' and 'Put Me Thru' and I went into these songs really wanting to step-up my writing. Writing was really one of the main things that I really needed to work on. As with my production, I wanted to go for more minimalist production and stuff that was groove-based. But the thing too was, I really wanted to step up my pen-game. Some songs were done really quick, but some songs, I really spent time in a room, especially the four that I mentioned, I have a large part of the production on. I would just sit in a room and do the production and then I just really tried to focus on how I wanted to come correct on the writing and I would brainstorm and look up other artists, especially '60s artists, to see if there were any I could identify with. I read up on Sam Cooke and Bobby Womack and Otis Redding and Curtis Mayfield and seeing the similarities. I looked up some of their tunes and their background. Sam Cooke was talking about wanting to echo the sentiments of what's going on socially and what the people are feeling. Sometimes it's personal, directly from his life but sometimes, it's a collection of what he feels like the world is going through and he wants to put it in words and being like, that's what I wanted to say, thank you for saying that. I wanted some songs like that. I also wanted some really personal ones. So the writing was a big priority for me on this record. I wanted to step it up and not be lazy with it.

You can tell. 'The Season' is such a personal cut that sounds like it's directly dedicated to your mom, while 'The Birds' sounds just as political as it does dripping in refreshing jazz like a Sunday morning cup of coffee. So you can hear your vision there.

Definitely. My other albums were like avant-garde paintings, splattered here and there. Like, it's a cool piece. This one is more of a portrait. I did a sketch and then the oil on top and then the colour. I just kind of built it like that. I don't know if I'll do every album like that, but I hadn't done an album like that before so this was an attempt to do something still adventurous but cohesive as well. There were some things that came into place, like after working with Dre and after doing stuff with Knxwledge, I had a more clear vision of what I needed to do vocally and production-wise for the project. I had those four songs but after coming out of all these other projects, I was definitely more focused on what I needed to do.

In an interview this past December, you said, "I've been putting out stuff in LA for ten years now, just trying different things and once someone takes a chance and has a big name and cosigns, then everyone comes running," which I think was a very real statement. What are your thoughts on the concept of hype and did that add any pressure for you as you got ready to release Malibu?

The concept of hype is, well, sometimes it's bullshit. To pour all this hype into something that is not cutting edge and to things that have been done before, I don't understand that part about it. But I think it's good, even if you're making music that I consider to be shitty or hyping you up, if you're prepared for the hype, then you can execute and make the most out of that situation. Things can look up for you. That's what I feel like is happening for me. There's a lot of hype about what's going on right now, but I feel blessed that it's a lot of hype around a good album that I'm proud of and an album that has a lot of substance and has a good message, musicianship and that it's something I can really stand on. It's me and I really like that part about it, that there's these people that are cosigning but at the end of the day, I still have to execute and deliver. I don't feel like I would have been able to do that without preparation. When Michael Jordan or Kobe makes a shot at the buzzer and people say, "he rose to the occasion," I feel like they were prepared for that moment. That's why they were able to make the shot. Them shooting 1000 shots during practice when people weren't hyping them up and the cameras weren't on them, that's the most important time. That's what was going on with me. I just want to continue to execute.

You've been unapologetically yourself since the beginning. What are values that you held as an artist that you made sure never to compromise on your lengthy journey to here?

I just feel like loyalty is important. I feel like I'm nothing without my team. I don't think I should have to compromise quality or who I am in order to sell records. I'm not into shuking and jiving and kissing ass in order to get to one place or another.

I read you mention before that you feel like you have all this making up to do for all the years that nothing was sticking. For someone like you that has grinded for all this time and is now reaping the benefits, what has that mental process been like for you, to allow yourself to enjoy everything that's happening for you now?

Sometimes I have to take a deep breath and think about it. But honestly, that's where I feel like I'm at now. I'm really having a lot of fun. Even doing these interviews and the shows, I'm really happy. There were some things in my life that jolted everything and I didn't get that time back and now that I'm in this state where I'm travelling and people want to talk to me and do photoshoots. It's really fun. It's tight. I love talking to new people and meeting people and being with my band. We're getting to travel together. Honestly, I feel like a kid again. It gets tough, because I'm away from my family but I'm having a lot of fun. It's not hard for me to sit and look around and see that I'm across the world. It's just because we trusted ourselves and made some music, man. We made music in a little-ass room and now look.

Malibu is out now via OBE / Steel Wool / Art Club / EMPIRE.