Features / Interview

“If Beats Was Money..”

Main Attrakionz - 2012

Squadda’s voice trails off as he contemplates life after the monetary change, but if beats was money, then North Oakland hip-hop duo Main Attrakionz would have so much you could find them setting piles of their cash ablaze like The Joker. Not that money is the end-game for Charles Glover a.k.a. “Squadda Bambino” or Demondre “MondreM.A.N” Grice. Both freshly 21, the two have been rapping since they were 12; consider their journey the anti Lil’ Bow Wow.

In 2002 as seventh graders at Oakland’s Carter Middle School, which is no longer, Mondre met Squadda cutting classes. That led to recording their first track – for fun on a Cassio karaoke recorder – over “In Da Club”, which was at that time a chart topper. It makes sense for two rappers raised in the 90s. Something about rapping with one another clicked, and the two have been brothers in the game ever since. The two tried their hand as kid rappers under the name Cash Out Soldiers, but labels didn’t see value in a group that had no big name rap relative or mentor. That couldn’t stop the pursuit of passion. Trophies from talent shows adorn a shelf at Mondre’s home. Those talent shows led to the next era of their careers, one that would usher in Main Attrakionz, and see the creation of Green Ova, the group of which they are two of the five members, after they met fellow Oakland rapper Shady Blaze.

With beats from Youtube and CD samples made on their laptop, and a home recording booth fashioned from a foam-lined closet, their “Lo-Fi” sound was born. Now days anyone can hop on garage band, or download free and probably pirated software, and try to make rap easily, but trying to be great isn’t easy. What their early hip-hop MacGyver act showed was a dedication to their sound and style that is still evolving but familiar on their newest album, Bossalinis & Fooliyones. A dedication and passion to true style, unique style, is an important step for young artists; making the jump from imitator, imposter and faker, to creator. Check out 2011 songs like “Legion of Doom” or “Shining Everytime”, the latter a track over Clams Casino – considered by many one of the best producers in raps new hazy meets syrupy “Cloud” movement – and you can hear the freshness.

Don’t let Mondre fool you when he says Main Attrakionz doesn’t rap about deeper issues. Just because the duo is more focused on codeine than congress doesn’t make Main Attrakionz shallow rappers. Their music is a far cry from what Squadda sees as the main stream, or what many of us know as Pit Bull. By being true to their roots Main Attrakionz is thought provoking without having to force it. The Tupac quote about a rose growing from between cracks in the sidewalk applies here.

Regardless of where the road ends for Main Attrakionz, they are relevant as voices of Oakland, and while Mondre and Squadda still may be in search of their first hit single, they are getting closer with every day and every EP. Maybe its foundation is just waiting for them in an inbox, in an unread e-mail. Maybe someday soon, beats will be money.

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