A decade ago, cloud-rap sounded like the future. It sort of was. The misty, murky underground rap sound became an internet sensation in the late ’00s and early ’10s, and it helped lead artists like A$AP Rocky and Clams Casino to fame. But Oakland’s Green Ova Undergrounds crew — Main Attrakionz, Shady Blaze, Dope G, Lolo — perhaps best exemplified that sound, and they never blew up. They never stopped working, either.
In February of 2011, Squadda B, one half of Main Attrakionz, produced a mixtape called The Shady Bambino Project, which showcased the Green Ova rapper Shady Blaze. Yesterday, the duo returned with Shady Bambino 2, a new album that finds their approach largely unchanged over the past decade. Shady Blaze raps in tight, twisty clusters that owe something to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, while Squadda B turns in an album of splintered, refracted beats. The end result sounds oddly current, as this kind of contemplative lo-fi street-rap has never really gone away. If anything, it still sounds vaguely futuristic. Listen below.
Shady Blaze 2 is out now and available on Bandcamp.