Amoeba Berkeley - June 30th @ 5:00pm
Join local psychedelic hip-hop duo Main Attrakionz for a live set and signing in celebration of their new album, 808s & Dark Grapes III (out that day on Vapor Records).
Hailing from North Oakland, Main Attrakionz has cultivated one of the most interesting and refreshing sounds in the crowded and fractured world of today’s rap underground. The duo of MondreMAN and Squadda B (who produces as well as rap) are credited as among of the pioneers of “cloud rap,” combining laid back, smokey bars with a taste for woozy, ethereal production to create a kind of psychedelic hip-hop that drifts as much as it bumps. Main Attrakionz built their fan base through the tireless output of lo-fi, self-released mixtapes. Now comes the latest installment of their highly acclaimed 808’s and Dark Grapes series: 808’s and Dark Grapes III, due out on June 30th on Neil Young’s Vapor Records.
808’s III is 12 concise but full tracks that welcome the listener into the woozy world of the self-proclaimed “greatest duo ever.” The tone is uplifting but rarely brash, balancing recent triumphs with struggles not far enough in the rear view mirror. “Changed my whole life through various microphones,” Squadda boasts on “Right Now,” balancing the somber ending of “Shoot the Dice” where he remembers how he “used to steal food to eat.” The production, handled entirely by frequent collaborators Friendzone, is a dreamy soundscape of Chrono Trigger synths built on hi-hat scaffolding. The sound ranges from the off-kilter bump of late-90’s Swizz Beatz on “Do My Thang” to an almost M83-like shimmer on “Summertime.”
Few hip-hop artists have leveraged the extended reach of cyberspace as effectively as Main Attrakionz. Through the internet, they linked up with famed producers like Clams Casino and Ryan Hemsworth, as well as kindred spirits like A$AP Rocky and Danny Brown, despite thousands of miles of distance. And while they rep Oakland to the fullest, a quick look at Squadda and Mondre’s internet presences shows a deep knowledge of workmanlike street rap from across the country. Squadda’s YouTube page especially is a vast library of loosies and album cuts from the likes of Noreaga and BG.
Squadda and Mondre have earned their propers for their talent and their approach: Billboard called them the “poster children for breaking music in the digital age,” while Pitchfork praised their ability to “[take] a style they can call their own and [present] it in a more user-friendly way.” In a New York Times interview, A$AP Yams name-checked Main Attrakionz as one of A$AP’s biggest influences.