O2 Academy Brixton

Last night, Apple Music and Beats 1 came together with California rapper Anderson .Paak for a one-night takeover of Brixton’s O2 Academy – with a little help from his five-piece band, The Free Nationals.

There were funk vibes and tons of energy as Paak delivered a thrilling live show, and it was especially sweet given that it was free for fans to attend. The band hyped up the crowd, shooting smoke cannons into the air while Paak bounced around the stage, at one point singing an ingenious mash-up of Glowed Up from Kaytranada’s critically acclaimed 99.9% over The Free Nationals’ rendition of Ignition Remix.

Paak even took a moment to tease the crowd with word of a new album. “I swear to god it’s fire,” he gushed. The genre-blending artist – often likened to Prince for his ability to play multiple instruments – was charged with electricity as he took to his drumkit whilst performing the premiere of new track Til It’s Over.

The entire event was presented by Paak’s long term mentor, Dr. Dre, and the West Coast rap icon made his own surprise appearance. An impromptu medley of his hits Still D.R.E. and The Next Episode from the iconic album 2001 went down a storm, as you might expect – it was Dre’s first UK performance in years.

Dre came out “to present and represent” Anderson .Paak promising the audience, “this man right here is destined to be a star. Trust me…” Considering Dre’s former protégés include Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Eminem, we’d be happy to take his word for it. On the strength of this performance, we don’t have to.