After an intimate gathering at the Independent we had the chance to talk to MondreMAN of Main Attrakionz after he performed along side with DaVinci and G-Side. In true character, Mondre sported dual tees; one shirt with an image of Super Mario and an even cooler muppet silhouette with the caption “Swaggle Rock.” At the closing of G-Side's encore, Mondre and I talked back stage after I politely informed him that 808s and Black Grapes II was ranked one of the top albums in our Best Music of 2011 list.
What got you into the game?
Oh man, just being born in it I guess, you feel me, just being born in the game.
And you were raised here in the Bay initially?
Yeah, Oakland California you feel me, North Oakland, Northtown Oakland.
How do you describe the fattest beat that you would ever want to flow over?
The fattest beat man. Let me see man, let me try to think of something old school. But I don’t know, I’m gonna say the old Cash Money beats , the old school Manny Fresh sound, you feel me? Like from way back in the 1990s, like '98, ’94, ’96. You feel me? That B.G. album, that True Story, that was like when that nigga was 12 or 13. That nigga’s beats man, that Manny Fresh sound though, I’ll say that. Throw the whole old school South sound in there. But I’m gonna take it to Too Short too though, when it comes to some Bay Area shit. And yep, Dr. Dre too though, feel me, Warren G, all them niggas too.
Now with folks like Clams Casino…
That’s some new generation shit right there man.
How do you feel that type of hypnotica vibe is taking over, not only Main Attrakionz but the A$AP crew and so forth?
I’m gonna say this the new sound, the new generation; a lot of the niggas in the game right now you know are like damn near 30 or something, you feel me, I don’t know if they still want to be rapping ‘till they hit like 40, 50 or something but if they still do this then that’s the love, that’s the base of the game and that’s like the 20 year olds and shit, the people who weren’t even born in the 80s. It’s our time to shine now; us ‘90s babies. For sure man.
What is it about the '90s that’s driving so much of not just hip-hop but all styles but rock and everything else?
I feel they’re kind of starting to miss those old cassette days, you feel me? In the '90s, cassette tapes and shit like the old school Three 6 Mafia sound, the lo-fi sounding shit. Like, just the whole sound of the music when it sounded like you was in your basement recording that motherfucker, you feel me? That was what we was raised up on; cassette tape dubbing and shit. But now it’s getting to digital, much digital status now when artists enter this shit. You know you can’t even buy a CD nomore, you don’t even have to buy a CD.
Yeah, and people still rep Three 6 Mafia too, as if it was just dropped.
They been though man, they been doing this like it’s just crazy to see that they still up in the game and shit though man even though they have been through a a lot of shit. But you know they let you know, these the mentors in the game. Like they the mentors in the game. For sure. And it’s good to see them still rappin’ too, that’s motivators too making me want to be that age and still rappin’ though man and making that music coming up man. For sure.
What is the Bay Area swag for you, compared to L.A., NYC, ATL, and elsewhere?
I don’t know, we just stick to ourselves, we just do us, man. Like compared to anything, we just do us. When you say the Bay we got Oakland, we got Frisco, we got Richmond, we got all that shit and like it’s just different segments but we just do us you know? We got the Bay and L.A. and we do our thing. From what I can see from what I’ve been doing they’re all types of sounds out here you feel me? A lot of everything, it’s not just the swag shit out here ya know?
Squadda B was repping a Dominant Legs shirt this evening, some indie SF cred. What do you feel about topics of genre, where some folks liken rap artists and producers to the new shoegazers?
You can’t think about it, you got to focus on your music man, you can’t let that distract you and that’s beauty of it. When you’re not letting none of that stuff distract you and you just stay focused and keep doing what you doing, that’s what got us here, you feel me?
How did you guys initially collide with G-Side bringing your take of the Bay to Huntsville?
Damn, I don’t know man, back in the day ’09, ’10 when we just started getting reviews and shit I see a lot of G-Side, Odd Future and shit before I even heard the music. I had just seen they name first and I knew they were doing their shit, they were doing something, feel me. So hey you know, that’s what I’m saying. You can’t let that distract you at one point ‘cause it’s all going to come together, it’s all going to link, man. God has put everything together, that’s why it’s coming together. We got DaVinci up in here from San Francisco, we got G-Side. We just keep doing our side of the music and that’s why we got compared to them and now we’re together doing the same shows and shit. That’s like crazy, that’s like crazy, sooner or later there will probably be some Odd Future / Main Attrakionz shows or something. Respect it though, You know what I mean?
I’m going to be surprised if that shit happens but that’s hot though that’s like just doing you, just like that’s what the critic’s job is to do you feel me? They put this lo-fi shit on us, they put this cloud rap shit on us, the fan’s and all of that shit but I love throwing them around with it though you feel me?
With respects to the Odd Future crew you guys operate from a different place.
For sure, for sure, that’s what I said, the Bay and L.A. are two different things, two different sides and it’s totally different for real like but it’s all good, it’s all the same region.
Off the top of your head give me a few releases that you liked from 2011.
Hmm, from 2011, Niggas on the Run Eatin’ we did you feel me, Main Attrakionz we dropped that. I kinda say something new that I did in 2011 was the Chandelier little project, that stuff was totally different man. Shouts out to Julian Wess and Logan, you feel me? All the Green Ova releases, Danny Brown’s shit was swag entertainment off the top you feel me? Damn, there is too much music I listen to, there is too much music, man! Probably heard it all but I still step the old shit too.
What are your predictions for 2012?
2012? Probably be…man…
Man, it’s gonna be worse, can’t explain it man, you feel me?
Any big releases that you’re excited about for 2012?
Oh hell no, waiting for that next big Main Attrakionz project to drop man, waiting for Shady Blaze to drop something too you feel me, waiting for everybody to keep dropping an album, keep making this good music man. We’ll most definitely bring it over in there.