808s & Dark Grapes II
Release Date: August 16, 2011
By: Tatiana Watson
Oakland rappers Mondre M.A.N. and Squadda B make up the rap duo Main Attrakionz who, last summer, dropped 808s & Dark Grapes II, their eighth album released in the last year and their first of which that was recorded in a studio. Their music has been labeled as "cloud Rap" , a new sub genre consisting of other rappers such as Danny Brown , Lil B, and A$AP Rocky, which the pair loosely accepts.
Although lyrically this album is lackluster, that's to be expected judging from previous releases by the duo. While 808s & Dark Grapes II did show a major improvement in their lyrical development, the main appeal of the album is the production. And If there's one thing Main Attrakionz can agree with homie Shady Blaze on, it's that "rappers ain't $#!% with out a producer" , which is more than evident in 808s & Dark Grapes II. With collaborations from some of the biggest underground producers right now such as Friendzone, AHYVE, and Squadda B himself, the instrumentals will keep you tuned in and jamming the whole time despite the lack of depth in the subjects.
There are a lot of high points to make known in 808s & Dark Grapes II. For example, the Glasser sample of "Treasure of we" on "Bossalinis & Fooliyones pt. 2" (hipsters eat your heart out) that sets the vibe for the rest of the album. Or "Vegetables" that includes a chorus with a heavily chopped robotic female voice repeating "Vegetables, Broccoli, and Lettuce" in a quick hitting beat, in comparison to other things that are green... Then there is "Perfect Skies", with it's lush, soulful beat and verses that expose a different dynamic from Main Attrakionz that can be much appreciated. The track to talk about though is "Take 1" which features Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky and producer extrodinar, Clams Casino. With its personal flows of exhaustion, a hypnotizing and seriously eerie instrumental, and even a shout out from Squadda B of an album coming in November, it is arguably the best track on the album.
The album, which also contains a solo track from each half of the duo, will take you on a 15 song journey through life growing up in Oakland, girls, drugs, and self doubt. Though there are some tracks that were below par ( see: Rap Junkies and Incredible) 808s & Dark Grapes II shows progression and maturation in their work. My suggestion, download the album (it's free!), give it a few listens, and you'll come away with a few favorites to add to your playlist.