“Big Bossin, Vol. 2” is the second installment in a promising album series from the gangster rapper Payroll Giovanni and super producer Cardo Got Wings. Despite the duo’s past endeavor being fantastic enough to land them a recording deal with Def Jam, the average hip-hop fan may not be too familiar with either of these budding stars.
Payroll is a Detroit native with an unsatisfiable hunger for success that stems from his less than glamorous background. Cardo, on the other hand, is a rising producer from Texas boasting collaborations with powerhouses like Drake, Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar. On “Big Bossin, Vol. 2,” the unlikely duo show off their amazing chemistry by creating an album brimming with sun rays and aggression.
“Big Bossin, Vol. 2” is one of those albums that has the unique ability to transport you somewhere else entirely. Cardo Got Wings’ phenomenal producing inspires thoughts of cruising through California in a convertible while blissfully soaking in sunbeams. The West Coast-themed production is consistent from beginning to end thus keeping the luxurious illusion alive despite the rather dark content from Payroll Giovanni.
Although the album operates within a narrow range of sound, every track feels fresh and new. While “Rapped My Way” feels distinctly West Coast, the cool sounds from a lone saxophone add a jazzy dynamic that separates it from the rest of the album. On “Mail Long,” Cardo goes a completely different direction sonically just by implementing these low pitch keys which gives the track an eerie feel.
Payroll Giovanni does not let any of Cardo’s masterful instrumentals go to waste either as he proceeds to rampage throughout the course of the album. Payroll is not the most lyrical rapper, but his assertive delivery and subtle wordplay add an edge to the music that is razor sharp. On “5’s and 6’s,” Payroll’s words cut through the smooth instrumentation and prevent the listener from becoming too cozy.
While Payroll Giovanni does a great job of bringing the intimidating energy that is associated with gangsta rap to every song, he also manages to find time to flex his skills as an artist on the hooks. His hooks are the cherry on top that give each song such an infectious feeling.
On “Stack It, Stash It,” he adds even more bounce to an already funky song by singing about stacking his drug money as high as possible on the hook. “5’s and 6’s” arguably has the best the hook as Payroll cruises over the soothing production from Cardo.
Payroll and Cardo are more than enough to make great music, but a few great features never hurt anyone. Jeezy proves this to be true on “Dopeman Dreams” where he delivers a fitting verse about acquiring foreign cars and women.
The legendary E-40 sounds right at home when he makes his grand entrance on “Mail Song.” Whoever decided that E-40 needed to be on that song should be given their flowers now because the Bay legend provided one of the best features I’ve heard from him this decade. “Big Bossin, Vol. 2” features quite a few other names that I am not really familiar with, but all of their contributions fit like a hand in a glove.
“Big Bossin, Vol. 2” is an excellent fusion of West Coast production and gritty lyrics. Whenever Cardo’s sweet production threatens to send you skywards, Payroll’s bleak perspective manages to keep you grounded. Payroll’s tales of the unforgiving streets and Cardo’s lush production should not complement each other so well. Their synergy only makes me eager for a third installment in their series.