The Texas-via-Minnesota rap producer Cardo has helped make some truly huge songs — Drake’s “God’s Plan,” Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps” — but he’s always been driven toward long-term collaborations and underground passion projects. Cardo has made full-lengths with people like Pi’erre Bourne and Nef The Pharaoh, and he’s done some of his best work on Big Bossin’ and Big Bossin, Vol. 2, his two team-ups with the Detroit underground mainstay Payroll Giovanni. This week, Cardo’s got a new project, and though it’s just credited to him, it’s really a full-length team up with three different rappers.
Cardo made the new album Game Related with three primary collaborators. One is his old partner Payroll Giovanni. Payroll is a member of the long-running Detroit rap group Doughboyz Cashout, and another Doughboyz Cashout member, Kid HBK, is also one of the rappers on Game Related. And Cardo has teamed them up with Larry June, an underrated and ultra-solid San Francisco head-slapper. All three rappers are tough and understated, and all three of them have chemistry.
Together, they’ve made an album of slick, gurgling, shiny funk that takes a lot of inspiration from the smoothed-out West Coast rap of the ’90s. Cardo loves playing around with gleaming synths and funky slow-roll basslines, and all three rappers sound absolutely natural over that sound. Game Related — which, it should be noted, has some great cover art — is in that same laid-back zone as those Big Bossin’ albums. You can stream it below.
Game Related is out now on EI$G/TFM/BYLUG.