Main Attrakionz

808s & Dark Grapes, Vol. 3

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MondreM.A.N and Squadda B's innovative blend of dreamy atmospherics and lo-fi beats received numerous accolades from the blogosphere during the early 2010s, as the duo were praised as innovators of a subgenre called "cloud rap." The 2015 full-length 808s & Dark Grapes III is only the group's second proper album, arriving three years after Bossalinis & Fooliyones, a slightly more polished mainstream effort than their previous mixtapes, which featured a guest appearance from Gucci Mane. III brings the self-proclaimed "Best Duo Ever" back to their roots a bit, being a sequel to their breakthrough Mishka-released 2011 mixtape 808s & Dark Grapes II, as well as being entirely produced by Friendzone (one of the architects of the cloud rap sound along with Clams Casino), who was absent on Bossalinis. The album immediately sounds welcoming and familiar, as lush pianos and string pads fade in at the beginning of opener "Shoot the Dice," launching into the duo's tough yet laid-back rhymes and head-snapping beats. Friendzone's production is stunning throughout, particularly on the complex, IDM-like "Dip" and the bright, sparkling "Cycles." "My Story" has a lovely koto-sounding melody and beats that are busy yet never cluttered or overbearing, and is an excellent example of Main Attrakionz's mastery of dynamics. 808s & Dark Grapes III isn't quite the Zeitgeist-capturing statement that II was, but it's still an enjoyable, highly focused effort.

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