Brando Bambino has arrived! Over the ominous soundscape from Pyramid Tapes production, ‘Bandito‘ is a fresh, invigorating hip hop offering, chock full of rewind-worthy bars, head nodding beats and face-melting features. We get nine tracks (and one interlude) of dope, dusty hip hop with that authentic underground sound as Brando rides the beat like he’s cruising the streets looking for violence and cover art that needs its recognition – Grammy-nominated artists Benjamin Marra lending his unique style to this joint and perfectly capturing the music with his illustrations.
So now, with the scene set, it’s time for the album to do the same which it does with ‘Roman Numerals‘ – a simple, well crafted beat, nice melodic keys and Brando lacing the joint with quality bars. ‘Bulletproof Baseball Hat‘ ups the ante a little as the bars get a little more robust and brutal, especially with Him Lo on the mic and in form! The haunting vocals through the hook add some mystery and edge to match and we are hooked. Next up, ‘Propose a Toast‘ strips it back and is compelling in its simplicity – crisp, melodic drums, atmospheric vocals intertwined over the measured and deliberate flow from B double.
‘F-16’s‘ features underground legend Planet Asia and both emcees load up and have everyone in their sites as they spit heat seeking bars that are aimed squarely at your headphones and speakers. And they don’t miss. It gets hypnotic on ‘Souvenirs‘ with Trot as the duo go back and forth, each working the mic over in their own way, but seamlessly working as a unit before the drums get heavier and ‘Mechanical‘ slaps you upside the head with bars like “wanted beef now he’s a vegetable“.
Burn&Loot team up with Brando Bambino for ‘Policy‘, a synth heavy joint with a dystopian feel that hits short and sweet. ‘Maxell‘ has a grimier vibe to it, with darker synth and samples providing the backdrop for Bambino’s bars, and when Hus Kingpin jumps on the track, it goes to another level. The final track on this audio journey is ‘What Have We Learned‘, recapping the fact that Brando Bambino has BARS for days and an understated by engaging flow and mic presence.
Bangers: Maxell, F-16’s, Bulletproof Baseball Hat, Souvenirs.
Score: 8.5 / 10. This was a really different vibe for me, with the energy more subdued and deliberate but with the flow Brando Bambino has, it works perfectly. The features were fantastic and really added some variety to the project without taking anything away from the audio journey that was being built and enriched through each track. This won’t get you up out of your seat, but it will entertain and engage your ears which is clearly what Bambino and Pyramid Tapes were trying to build.