The official debut of Oakland-based hip-hop group Main Attrakionz, Bossalinis & Fooliyones follows a string of four free mixtapes dropped by the duo over the past couple of years. With each release, members Squadda B and MondreMAN have refined their subwoofer-friendly rhymes more and more. They’re seemingly attempting to record as much they possibly can, giving themselves ample space to work out the kinks, and the specific sound they’ve stumbled upon has come to define the current young crop of rap. Bossalinis & Fooliyones offers the recipe that they’ve mastered—smooth, laid-back flow over watery, ambient beats—but pushes it further by using lyrics about everyday life to highlight dark and somewhat mundane undertones, creating a weird, twisted, and mostly enjoyable experience.
The group’s rise is a direct result of that overflowing work ethic, helped along by some convenient timing. Bossalinis & Fooliyones comes when a new generation of rap is establishing itself. The burgeoning scene—Odd Future, A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown, and so on—has challenged the consensus of what hip-hop is, collectively heading down a path that’s much weirder and more abstract than the genre’s tradition. But what separates Main Attrakionz from that field of weird is its obsession with illustrating how both rappers seemingly care about everything and nothing at the same time.
Many of the tracks on Bossalinis & Fooliyones focus on typical hip-hop fodder, like struggles with women, weed, money, and success, but—when successful—avoid feeling contrived due to their heavy sense of apathy. That’s not to say Squadda B and MondreMAN don’t care about their rhymes; they just support their flows with a level-headedness that matches the fluidity of the music. That approach makes the moments when they do flex feel that much more monumental. “Wings,” one of the album’s strongest tracks, slides along on a slippery, head-nodding beat, but then jumps into a high-powered refrain about accepting life’s realities: “If I had wings I would fly and leave the sky / But I can’t so I roll and get high.” Another standout track, “Bury Me A Millionaire,” flips the lyrical formula and uses cocky, gonna-be-rich-and-you’ll-see verses over a rumbling, choppy 808 beat.
Bossalinis & Fooliyones struggles at times, specifically when the duo loses subtlety and self-awareness. “LFK,” which features a refrain of “LFK, bitch, lo-fi Kings,” comes across like cocky teenagers insisting they’re the best simply because they can talk louder than another person. The same goes for the opener, “Green On Sight,” another track with lyrics that embrace immaturity in a way that steps just a bit too far across the line. But those moments of overt arrogance are rare. And after all, Squadda B and MondreMAN are just a couple of twentysomethings with big dreams. It’s only in their insecurities that they reveal their true selves—and, in that honesty, ultimately show their strength.