Although the boys from the Bay Area have a long road ahead of them before being in the same conversation as other NorCal legends like E-40, Mac Dre and Too $hort, their early success has paved the way for their patented sound.
Let’s take a deeper look into their newest project.
After listening through the album once, there were a few things that stood out to me. The first being that their narrative and substance of their work has pretty much stayed the same since the group’s early beginnings. Much of their lyrics paint a picture of growing up in the streets and finally earning a steady cash flow now that they’ve reached stardom.
Hence, the reoccurrence of the phrase ‘runnin’ up the check’ countless times in multiple songs (in this album and in projects of the past).
Another thing that caught my eye were the vibes that each song brought (no pun intended, you’ll understand when you look at the track list). Like the substance of the music, it’s very similar to work that SOB’s done in the past: very uptempo, easy to groove to and in-your-face.
And although most of the songs are almost what I had expected it to be, I have to say that this project is a must-have on any turn up playlist.
Look through the track list and you’ll notice a few familiar features. The first being 18-year-old rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again on a track with Yhung T.O. called ‘Can’t Go Back.’
The song, which fittingly is produced by fellow Bay Area native P-Lo, is stamped with T.O.’s vocals and complimented nicely by YoungBoy’s autotune. Personally, I’ve never heard YoungBoy sing, nor am I a big fan of autotune, but this was the one track on the album that was brought something different to the table.
Another feature that turned heads was the collaboration with the lean-sippin’ rappers from Los Angeles, Shoreline Mafia on “Let Em Have It.” To me, I always thought that SOB and Shoreline were made to team up on a track due to their similarities.
And to put things in perspective, I’d say that Shoreline is the SoCal version of SOB and SOB is the NorCal version of Shoreline in terms of style, magnitude and sound (with very small but distinct differences here and there).
Personally, I prefer “Da Move” over this track, but whenever you got two young up-and-coming groups who simply don’t give a f*ck, you’re bound to have some heat.
Of the 15 songs on the LP, the best track, in my opinion, has to be ‘Vibes‘ with Slimmy B and Yhung T.O.
Despite Daboii missing on this track (shout out to Lul G too, he puts in work), Slimmy B and Yhung T.O. make up for the other two absences. It sounds like they chose the right members for the right beat as both T.O. and Slimmy B’s deliveries fit on this track like a glove.
In the end, this album didn’t blow me away but it was one that I could play on repeat all day. The 15-song LP is what most people who’ve listened to SOB would have expected. ‘Gangin’ II’ not only pays homage to their roots in Vallejo, but it paints a picture of making it out of the streets, but still staying loyal to them.
Looking at the bigger picture, I feel that I’m more impressed with the overall body of work that the group has done in the past two years than this album itself, but don’t let that take away from the group’s latest release
‘Gangin’ II’ only solidified SOB x RBE’s identity and kept the consistency.
Photos by Shaun Llewellyn