Earlier this year, Anderson .Paak pulled off a pretty amazing flex when he got Smokey Robinson to sing on “Make It Better,” a warm midtempo glide of an R&B song. Last night, Anderson .Paak pulled off another flex when he got Smokey Robinson to come sing the song with him on Jimmey Kimmel Live. Smokey Robinson doesn’t have to do stuff like this! He’s Smokey Robinson!
Think about this: Berry Gordy founded Motown Records so that he could put out music from the Miracles, Smokey Robinson’s group. Robinson and Gordy co-wrote “Shop Around,” the first hit record for Motown, 59 years ago. Robinson wrote or co-wrote “My Guy” for Mary Wells, “My Girl” and “Get Ready” for the Temptations, and “Ain’t That Peculiar” for Marvin Gaye. He put out an absolutely unimpeachable string of hit singles for himself and his Miracles through the ’60s and into the ’70s, and he was still making hits and changing the direction of soul music into the ’80s. And he’s still around! Still touring! Showing up on Jimmy Kimmel with Anderson .Paak and shit! That’s amazing!
“Make It Better” isn’t the best Anderson .Paak song, and it damn sure isn’t the best Smokey Robinson song. But it’s still fun to see Robinson walking out on the Kimmel stage, looking happy and sounding graceful, radiating the same sort of all-directional affection he always has. Watch the performance below.
Anderson .Paak’s album Ventura is out now on Afterman/12 Tone Music.