In the history of Aftermath Entertainment, 22 albums have been released in the company’s 19-year history. That includes nine albums from Eminem (including a greatest hits disc), four albums from 50 Cent, two Dr. Dre albums (2001 and Compton) as well as one off albums from Truth Hurts, Busta Rhymes and the lone album from The Firm. There’ve been more stories tied to the label of artists signing but never releasing anything, most notably Rakim. There have been secondary tales about Dr. Dre’s role of being a super perfectionist and wanting the absolute best out of artists, sometimes driving them out of Aftermath all together. So what makes Anderson .Paak different?

Well, in Anderson .Paak’s case, he’s the one who broke through on a Dr. Dre album to release a solo project that was not only well-received, but lauded even by fans and critics. If there was a voice that happened to be more prominent and distinct on Compton than Dr. Dre’s, it was .Paak, who even had a solo cut in “Animals” that was more of a showcase of his lyricism and pen than Dr. Dre reveling more in still having animosity for the police. The good faith and how loose Dr. Dre has been in his handling with .Paak has only pushed skepticism to the side. Anderson .Paak, more than any artist on Aftermath outside of Kendrick Lamar maybe, has full reign of his career.

Saturday, .Paak broke the news that we had long suspected even when people had first started bringing his name up after Compton was released. He’s officially a signee of Aftermath Entertainment, complete with Dr. Dre giving him a black & white introductory video. “I want y’all to say what’s up to the new Aftermath representative,” Dre said before the camera panned to. Paak, yelling in glee.

The benefit of signing to Dr. Dre in 2016 has some perks. .Paak debuted his Malibu album not just with a series of shows but an entire showcase & interview complete with the Beats logo attached. .Paak is no processed musician, more of a raw product with a singing-rhyming voice that can make a turn for the soul and psychedelic at a moments notice. We learned much of that on Venice and on he and Knxwledge’s Link Up & Suede EP that dropped in December 2015. What .Paak constantly brings to the table is emotion, a steady voice that can play hoarse when it needs to convey all of the uneasiness and fear and anxiety of the world.

“I definitely can see the difference in the vocal production working with him versus working by myself,” .Paak told Cuepoint. “When I listen to “Animals” or “All in a Days Work,” you can tell there’s a difference in the energy and that’s the main thing he likes to get across. I had never heard myself like that before.”

For all of the grief and jokes people have made about Aftermath artists, how they’ve been shelved sitting and waiting (Stat Quo, etc.), it’s a bit different now. Dre’s loosening the strings and the benefits have shown. Why else would Kendrick Lamar release two sonic operas that are literally night and day from one another on the label? Dre sees what plenty have seen in the Oxnard, California singer, the one who went from couches to houses with his wife and child and came to grips with the slow burning reach of his talents. The rest of the world is already buying in to .Paak and as long as the praise for Malibu sows the seeds for the future, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry.

Anderson .Paak isn’t another Aftermath casualty. He may be the anomaly that leads to the label releasing albums from multiple artists on a consistent basis.