The sound of Bay Area rap music has had an interesting path. A lot of good, a lot of bad, and a lot of experimental stuff.
From the late 80's and early 90's with Too Short, JT the Bigga Figga, Mac Mall, Mac Dre and E-40 where they had a more Pimp-style of rap.
To the late 90's early 2000's with Keak Da Sneak, Messy Marv, Rick Rock, The Federation and Yukmouth where they talked a little bit more about the streets.
To the late 2000's to the early 2010's with Diligentz, The Pack, Mistah Fab, Roach Gigz, and Clyde Carson that gave us The Hyphy Movement.
And then the last 5 years has given us P-Lo, Iamsu, Mozzy, Kool John, ALLBLACK, and kids like ShooterGang Kony. A very strange mix of the different Bay Area styles over the last 30 years.
This next album gives us a little bit of everything we love that is Bay Area rap music.
SOB x RBE
Strictly Only Brothers
December 20, 2019
As we enter a new decade, we are entering an era of new sound. Nobody will ever be original because there's been too many of those over the last 100 years. Artists will always find inspiration from others.
This album is one big compilation of inspiration from the history of Bay Area rap music. Anyone who has listened to SOB x RBE over the last few years may be surprised to hear what they came with in their fourth full length album.
I had listened to their first two albums as they came out. "Anti" was a major banger that drew me in, but outside of that there was little substance to what I was consuming.
The opportunities to be successful were there, but they were lacking something bigger. Their music wasn't giving me any sense of nostalgia, it was just music. The chances of me going back to listening to them were slim.
But it was Christmas day, and I was feeling particularly giving, so I gave them another chance. The first song drew me in.
The slick talk and beat to open up the album sounds like something from an early 90's E-40 track.
Thought only God can judge, but I've been judged ever since
"Pass the Mic" has many quotes about how they got to where they're at. Not only can you hear them all on the same page, but you can feel like this is something different from what they've dropped before.
While their past albums have given a feel of kids just trying to seek acceptance, this track gives off a sense of them feeling like they have already proven they belong.
With the title of the song, you can imagine them coming into the booth with pure fury. Tired of feeling like they haven't been taken seriously this far into their careers.
They took themselves seriously, and expected the listener to do the same.
We don't hear this early 2010's sound as much as we should. There are heavy connections to The Diligentz when you listen to the beat carefully.
This track "Strictly Only Brothers" has many lyrics commenting on the guns they have and what they'll do with them. The album cover shows them showing off their guns. I don't know who y'all flexing on. Like, I'm a fan. I don't see what the problem is.
Bitch, I vow to never lose, I got a pocket full of blues
See, I told you they were talking about guns. I guess they were really trying to flex on someone.
But we have seen this from Bay Area music since forever. Tupac literally talked about murdering people for entire albums.
I'm usually all about positivity, but there's just something about gun violence that really gets me hyped up for my regular ass day job.
So when I first went through this album, I liked it. So the first thing I wanted to do was share it with my friends to see what they thought of it.
In the backroom at my job, we have a bluetooth speaker. So I told my coworker to play the album. I assumed they would just listen to it for a bit and then turn it off. It's pretty heavy on the street sound with a lot of connotations to gun violence.
But they seemed to like it, they even had the same view on it that I had. Saying that it sounded like a mix of new Bay Area sound with that 90's sound.
This track "Screamin Murdah" was playing when I came back to the backroom like 4 hours later. So I guess they liked this album.
Ah, your nigga died, nobody slide, nobody slid for 'em
That hook right there is incredible. It shows an unbelievable amount of transparency. He may have been yelling when he said it, but you can feel the pain in his voice the more you listen to it.
You talk about having somebody's back, this takes it to the next level. With words like these, it makes you wonder if your friends would really have your back like this.
This album is hands down the best work to date for SOB x RBE. These guys really got in the studio put their passion on the line.
They're older and have gone through more as artists and as young men. Money and fame usually changes people for the worse, but this piece of work makes us look forward to their future work.
So if you've listened to them in the past and didn't care for what you've heard, throw your previous thoughts on them out the window and give this album a try.
And if you've never listened to them before, make sure to get yourself in the right headspace. Or else you might feel like they're banging on you.