Your boy is currently in beautiful Toronto, now a week out holding down (among other things) navigator and music duties in the Shabazz Palaces tour van, which is no mean feat. Can's Ege Bamyasi, Eno and Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Velella Velella's Atlantis Massif, and various lowrider oldies (via East Side Story Vol. 1–12) have all been working well, engendering the desired response of "What is this, L?" One particularly successful selection, though, was one of my very favorite albums of 2011: 808s & Dark Grapes II by Oakland's "best duo ever," Squadda B and Mondre M.A.N., aka Main Attrakionz.
Out of the current vanguard of, well, post–Lil B young cats getting lauded, hated on, or tearfully fapped over or whatever (you know: Odd Future—gay! A$AP—hard! SpaceGhostPurrp—skrrrrrt?), Main Attraks, for sure, are the most underrated and far and away my favorite. See, most cats that fit into this category satisfy some of my senses but ultimately come up short, either guilty of having only "a couple cool joints," being a total one-trick pony, or just in general scoring 6 out of 10 at best. Like, Goblin was really just a'ight (I mean, the only joint on my phone is the instrumental). A$AP (the true-school head's choice) is consistently and satisfyingly HarlemHoustoMIA, but LiveLoveA$AP still had its share of filler and plenty wack verses from Rocky's young Outlawz-esque crew. Whereas 808s is, to me, pretty much perfect and easily the most consistent project to come from that nebulously described (at least by me, for sure) generation of youngbloods. Part of it is their dreamscape beat selection, gauzy and warm yet choppy, and trapped-out; a unified vibe unfolds even though the beats are from a million different cats. "Cloud rap" scion Clams Casino ("Take 1" on here, aka "Leaf" on A$AP's album, but you knew that by now), Seattle's rising Keyboard Kid (whose electric-blue remix of MA's "Youngin" is sheer eight-bit majesty), Redmond's Giorgio Momurda, Friendzone, and plenty others (including Squadda B himself) supply the wardrobe. It's really their raps that make them a cut above, though. Their archetype is the divinely minded, barely-out-of-high-school trapper ("'cause life ain't shit without that prayer in the morning"), almost ascetic in their single-minded pursuit of higher expression ("I ain't fuckin' bitches, I just get they money"—I said almost) and a purer type of young thug motivation. No, not more motivation to self-sabotage, rather inducements to elevation, mentally and spiritually, delivered with emotion and brevity. "Ain't shit gon' change, but your ass can" says volumes without talking your third eye off. Somehow the simple chant "You can't hate, you can't hate... chuch," seemingly so tossed-off, feels nothing short of revelatory. "You the shit, and you know just what I'm talkin' 'bout," don't you?
Main Attrakionz were scheduled to play Barboza on Sun April 22, but the show was canceled after this issue went to press.