I never liked the genre name “cloud rap.” It’s not that the name itself is a poor description of what it’s describing–blissed-out sounds from producers like Clams Casino and Keyboard Kid–but instead it’s pigeonholing an artist into a hyper specific genre. It’s too dismissive. Chillwave, witch house, cloud rap, it all sounds like an attempt to box in an artist before they have a chance to really develop. Not to mention, the moment a trend is established and named, it usually has a short shelf life before the music world’s A.D.H.D. mindset sprints onto the next train.
This brings us to Main Attrakionz, the duo MondreM.A.N and Squadda B from Oakland. Main Attrakionz built up a steady buzz last year thanks to the damn good 808 & Dark Grapes II mixtape featuring rising stars A$AP Rocky and Clams Casino. It was so good that the indie label Type decided to pick it up and press some physical copies on vinyl. So, this brings us to, Bossalinis & Fooliyones, the “debut” album from Main Attrakionz. At this point their style is well-established, so it makes sense that their debut album follows the path they have already carved for themselves.
Main Attrakionz showcase the laid back demeanor of classic West Coast hip-hop, but aren’t shy about their influence from guys like Pimp C and Clipse. They are hip-hop in 2012, rooted in their home city, but directly linked and influenced by everything around them. The straight-up funk of “Liquor Runs” and “La Piñata” would make DJ Quik happy. The Syrup-drenched goodness of “On Tour” is a clear tip of the hat to Southern gods UGK. “Superstitious”, arguably the album’s high point, features a guest verse from Gucci Mane, whose lazy flow over a minimal burner works in the most enjoyable way possible.
While Squadda and Mondre implement a tour of different styles on this record, they aren’t shy to be the flag bearers of their own rap movement. Tracks like “Cloud Life” and “Cloud Body” are all the reasons 808s & Dark Grapes II was so successful in the first place. And, on Bossalinis & Fooliyones these types of airy tracks don’t lack any potency a year later. Bossalinis & Fooliyones is about as good a debut album as Main Attrakionz could have come with. They’re maintaining the method of success of their previous mixtapes without coming off remotely stale. Cloud rap might sound like a genre set to fade out within the next 12 minutes, but with Squadda and Mondre continuing their quality output, I’d say it’s here to stay.