Album Review: Squadda B


 

Squadda Bambino and Mondre M.A.N. of the Oakland’s Main Attrakionz are like the Lewis & Clark of cloud rap, which makes Lil B their Sacajawea or something. Their first official non-Bandcamp album Bossalinis & Fooliyones made small waves in 2012. They’ve been steady dropping for-profit projects to very little internet rap fanfare, existing in a sort of purgatory where rappers charge for their art. The most recent is the sequel to the 2010 Squadda solo project of the same name, coming courtesy of Green Ova Undergrounds and whichever rap blogger is managing them currently.

The entire album is produced by Squadda himself, save for one reggae-influenced co-production credit to frequent collaborators Friendzone. The songs rarely stray too far from the Main Attrakionz formula, with Squadda’s drowsy flow floating over sunshine synths, like they woke him up creeping through his blinds on a clear East Bay morning. His topics rarely stray from weed (a lot of weed) and street life, with a forged ruthlessness from those streets simmering underneath: “I got bullied in sixth grade but now I’m bangin/Shoot him dead in the face and watch his brains dangle.” It never comes to the forefront however. Even during the posse cut “Ima Eagle” with Mondre and Green Ova affiliates Dope G and Robbie Rob growling braggadocio, I can throw elbows without feeling the need to leave the dank space under my computer desk. One highlight is “Whoa Woa Woa Woaaa” which uses the lightest melody of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” as a backdrop for Squadda to beg for mota.

The shorter songs feel unfinished (as most MA songs tend to) and the longer songs switch up halfway through the playing time, like “Now…..” which goes from a barely-there ode to smoking while driving, into chanting, “I’m a gerber baby” over what sounds like a chopped up harp. It’s often difficult to even see the song right in front of you, like an outstretched hand in heavy fog. There’s nothing as light and poignant as “Fakest Year Ever” from the first Dont Care About Death and nothing as hard and wreckless as “Down” from 2011′s Back $elling Crack. Squadda might’ve gotten better as a rapper but I can’t tell without Shady Blaze burning his toes on any songs. These do not exist for classic bars but rather for capturing the essence of blunt circles. I can’t really tell if this album is better than his last few released as Hollywood Squadda or I just thought harder about this album more than I did others. Or maybe I just like outdoor weed more.

In any case, I Smoke Because I Dont Care About Death 2 is available for stream and purchase on the Green Ova Bandcamp, and fellow Main Attrakion MondreM.A.N is set to release a new solo project They Say I Struggle Rap on November 12.

Tags: Main Attrakionz Oakland Hip Hop Popular Review Squadda B