Main Attrakionz – 808s & Dark Grapes II

written by: October 7, 2011
808s and dark grapes II album cover Release Date: August 16, 2011


The Oakland rap collective of Squadda B and Mondre M.A.N., known to the world as Main Attrakionz, collaborate on their fourth full-length mixtape of the year with 808s & Dark Grapes II, thanks to a co-venture with clothing company Mishka. Representing the sub-genre of “cloud rap” (not the most well-known sub-genre), 808s lives up to its name by providing the listener with plenty of rattle for their trunk.

As they’ve risen to notoriety in the hip-hop world, Main Attrakionz has been lumped in with artists such as Cali brethren Lil B and Tyler, the Creator-led Odd Future (OFWGKTA). Possibly having more of a connection with the former, the comparison with the latter is hard to wrap one’s head around.

Where this release falls short is lyricism, but not for a lack of trying.

The duo should be commended for trying to tackle broader subjects than just Cadillacs, girls and money, but they just don’t seem to have the lyrical firepower that someone like Tyler possesses, not to mention lacking in the overall gimmicks and appeal. It might be easier to classify them if they didn’t try so hard, lyrically. If they left the work to the 808s themselves and left the substance out, the record might be viewed in a different light. It’s almost like they’re in the wrong genre.

808s gets off to a less than-stellar start with a few almost-unlistenable samples and an occasional breakthrough set of 16s. “Diamond of God” is a nice attempt at battling one’s inner demons with the longing to follow the moral code that is obviously there. “Chuch” follows along the same path with a slow, quiet instrumental, but leans more toward the confliction of money and women that conquers many a rapper’s conscience. They’re fit in the aforementioned category of a nice try, but there’s not much underneath the surface. “Perfect Sounds” is less than perfect, finding another confliction.

“Nothin’ Gonna Change” at least starts to point the album’s compass in the right direction. A melodic sample with tempo-pushing drums finds Squadda and Mondre attacking their lyrics like never before. It’s an ode to some of the same topics they tackled before, but in a much more articulate and entertaining way. “Rap Junkies” and “Vegetables” keep things moving forward in a positive way with catchy beats that find the duo laying down flows that fit them nicely.

“Take 1” is probably the highlight of the tape. Starting with a movie clip that sets the mood, the group goes through a list of things they have a distaste for, and hipsters are one of them. It’s their strongest song lyrically, fluidly and musically. They lyrics creep over the claps and voice samples perfectly.

“Regrets” ends 808s on a high note as the duo stresses that they’re not sorry for anything they’ve gone through at their young age.

808s & Dark Grapes II is an honest depiction of a promising rap group who haven’t quite found their voice yet, but they are well on their way. There are always going to be bumps along the way. Luckily, most of them will be coming from speakers.

Main Attrakionz – 808s & Dark Grapes II tracklist:

  1. “Bossalinis and Fooliyones Pt. 2”
  2. “Diamond of God”
  3. “Chuch”
  4. “Incredible”
  5. “Perfect Sounds”
  6. “Nothin’ Gonna Change”
  7. “Rap Junkies”
  8. “Vegetables”
  9. “Take 1”
  10. “Mondre Mo Murda”
  11. “Chosen”
  12. “That’s Life”
  13. “Paperwork”
  14. “Perfect Skies”
  15. “Regrets”