Download: Main Attrakionz, ‘808s & Dark Grapes II’

In a year flooded with brilliant DIY hip-hop, overlooking mixtapes was a readily forgivable act. So all belatedness considered, I just caught wind of this: a tape from up-and-coming Oakland duo Main Attrakionz that boasts many of the year’s musical motifs while still standing out, 808s & Dark Grapes II.

The syrup-drenched, cloud-hopping instrumentals from the likes of Friendzone and Clams Casino are here. A guest spot from well-paid Harlem product A$AP Rocky can be found on “Take One” (which is listed as “Leaf” on his LiveLoveASAP). There are grounded, socially conscious verses that, say, challenge MLK and Malcolm subscribers alike (“Diamond of God”), often adjacent to verses that could be pumped as pure street hop if not intertwined with such ambient soundscapes. And on “Perfect Sounds”, there’s even a sample of Willie Hutch’s “Mother’s Theme”, possibly the most impossibly beautiful recording ever.

Granted, there aren’t many moments of mind-melting lyricism on Grapes, but that’s never quite the aim. Rather, this is, not unlike LiveLoveASAP, a remarkable amalgam of taste and grit. It’s tough to say when the marriage between weird experimentation and hard rap occurred, but Main Attrakionz certainly have had their share in its consummation.

Below, listen to and download 808s & Dark Grapes II for free, via Miskha’s bandcamp.