My friend Brandon (of end-of-the-world NPR/ Sprinkle Lab fame) just directed and shot his first hip hop video featuring MondreMAN of Main Attrakionz. So in celebration, I thought I’d let him post an entry on how it all went down.
(via Brandon Tauszik)
It was late on a drunken Friday evening. Main Attrakionz, which consists of MondreMAN and Squadda B, had just finished performing at a small club in San Francisco. I slapped hands with Mondre and congratulated him on a great performance. However, just as our conversation began, we were cut short by the club’s bouncer. Mondre and Squadda were kicked out of their own show for being under 21.
It is with this dogged success that MondreMAN and Squadda B have tirelessly carved a name for themselves in today’s flourishing underground rap scene. They are part of a generation of musicians, regardless of genre, who’ve learned quickly that the golden days of multi-million dollar contracts with major labels are over. To compensate for this golden key to widespread distribution, and ultimately fame, they’ve taken to the internet. Twitter, Bandcamp, and YouTube have replaced PR firms, CD releases, and MTV – allowing music blogs and the fans themselves to decide who has talent. Main Attrakionz have proven themselves to have the unrelentless hustle it takes to break through all this noise.
Although their national status as the kings of “cloud rap” is a grandiose title, they’ll quickly check you with sincerity. The humble heart of their dynasty is still Squadda’s bedroom at his mom’s house in North Oakland. Littered with empty Sprite bottles and primeval Mac computers, the closet is transformed into a permanent recording booth. And it’s here, far away from LA’s pro studios and Rick Rubin, that tomorrow’s rap music is independently and passionately crafted.
Being neighbors on the same North Oakland street, I strolled over to Squadda’s one evening to discuss collabing on a Mondre video. We sipped booze from plastic cups and decided on a track, then discussed some rough ideas and set a shoot date. The plan was to have lots of smoke and to film in the neighborhood; on our street and at their trap house a few minutes away. It was my first time shooting a rap video and it was indeed a momentous experience. As you can see in the video, many a blunt was rolled and my bottle of Jameson was emptied for me.
Two months later and Mondre’s new album is finally out. Each of the 8 tracks feature beats from a different producer, all of whom hold heavy status in the underground scene. The subject matter ranges from Oakland street life, family, success, and what every other young man wants; bitches and blunts.
Help support the lo-fi kings and download the M A N album here.