West Coast Hip-Hop music has always been one of my favorite subgenres to listen to ever since I dove deeper into the world of Rap. There are just these feel-good vibes mixed with ruthless narratives and hard-nosed threats that come together and create some of the wildest and most intriguing sounds in the entire industry. Of course, you can’t think of the West Coast or LA without Shoreline Mafia popping up immediately. It’s unbelievable that they’ve only been around for a few years considering the fact that they seem to be virtually everywhere. Their rise to fame was rapid but notable and they made so many intelligent moves that are going to add to their longevity, so the fact that we finally have their debut studio album Mafia Bidness just seems to be overdue at this point, but much appreciated, nonetheless.
Even though we might not have had an actual album up until this point, they have gifted us with numerous notable mixtapes and Eps, both collectively and independently. Their independent excursions are great, of course, but there’s nothing like hearing them come together and make music due to the fact that they each bring different skills to the party that works seamlessly and effectively with one another. When it comes to Mafia Bidness, this seems to be their most cohesive project to date. Of course, I loved most of their previous work, but it appeared as if there were a few extremely appealing songs that I’d take away from each tape and move along, waiting for the next one. On this album, there is just hit after hit, and if that wasn’t evident from the plethora of singles that they released in anticipation of the project, I don’t know how much clearer they could make it. It also seems as if this is one of their most extensive projects, utilizing all 21 songs in different ways and showing off a plethora of their different aptitudes in ways I never knew they could.
On songs such as “All The Time”, “Aww Shit”, and “Brand New”, there are classic West Coast synths that have been popularized within Gangster Rap that are paired with some crisp percussion and booming bass drums that add so much haste and intention to the offerings. On these tracks, the four members take turns showing off their trademark styles while also just bouncing along to the beats incredibly end effortlessly. There is a multitude of features on this album, and honestly, they’re all notable. Friends and close collaborators 03 Greedo and 1takejay know exactly how they fit in with the group and provide some of the best and most energetic verses on the entire project. Another friend of the group, Drakeo the Ruler, even pops in about halfway through to offer his own freestyle over the group’s hit song “Musty”, and boy does he do it justice with his laid-back flow and impressively eye-opening bars.
Future pops in for a verse on “Poe the Drop” and his ad-libs as well as verse bring me back to a more nostalgic time of his career, one that almost reminds me of his days on Pluto, which was a wonderful walk down memory lane. My absolute favorite guest spots include Mike Sherm on “Fuck It Up”, Z Money on “Big Tymer”, and Duke Deuce on “Do the Most”. It’s hard for me to choose my absolute favorite because they each bring something new to the table and although they might sound completely individualistic and separate from one another, they complement the home team of Shoreline in such incredible manners. While I wasn’t a massive fan of Lil Yachty or Kodak Black’s respective contributions to their songs, I would be a fool to say that they ruined the entire album because we still have so much additionally incredible music aside from these tracks. They even include a bonus song at the end which we’ve all heard before considering it was on Rob Vicious’ album Traplantic, but rounding out the album with “Bands” was a perfect finisher to bring the entire offering full-circle.
The buildup of anticipation as we waited for Mafia Bidness to release was tedious and felt like it lasted forever, and this worried me somewhat because I didn’t know how it was going to live up to the hype that was built up around it. All of the singles held us over and Shoreline did such a great job creating buzz, but I was a bit concerned that these would be the highlights of the album and the rest would basically be filler tracks. Luckily, after listening a few times, I can say with the utmost confidence and honesty that the entire album is full of highlights and it was undoubtedly well worth the wait. They included such a variety of features including so various levels of fame and recognition, and each artist provided their own flare in so many different ways. Despite all of these guests invited to the party, the hosts of the gathering are never overshadowed or outshined, and they manage to stand out even on songs with iconic, household names. In the end, Mafia Bidness is exceeded my expectations and although it’s only the group’s debut album, it almost seems like a victory lap after all the constant work they’ve put in over the past few years. I can’t wait to revisit the project over and over again to pick up little things I might’ve missed throughout my listening sessions already, so this will most likely be played on repeat for the foreseeable future. Mafia Bidness was not only well worth the wait, but it’s also well worth your time, so be sure to give Shoreline Mafia’s debut album a listen as soon as you possibly can.