In 2006, an unknown group out of Oakland dropped an album full of clubs, hoes and fly clothes. Built on blissed-out electronic rhythms inspired by the Bay Area’s Ecstasy culture, The Team composed of Clyde Carson, Kaz Kaizah and (then occasional member) Mayne Mannish seemed determined to bring the player back to national attention. Almost totally ignoring tough-talk in favor of boasting and celebrating, the album sounds like nothing else this decade: a club record that actually captures the feeling of chemically enhanced, neon colored summer weekend. What the Clipse did for Kool G Rap and Raekwon, The Team did for Oakland pimp Too $hort and post murda Ma$e, elevating Bapes, mamis and drugs into a fetish for their own sake. The result is arguably the least Hyphy album to be lumped in with the movement, a G-Funk throwback that predated everything positive about the late 00’s generation of rappers without any of their smug self-consciousness.

The production alone is the best thing you’ve never heard: the intro interpolates a Harry Potter/NFL them into a ¾ time locker room anthem, “Bottles Up”, “On One” and “Top of the World” somehow make MDMA rap sound like a good, nay GREAT idea and “Touch the Sky”, “Summertime in the Town” and the Too $hort tribute “Player” update the Cali anthem for the millennial generation. Even the high-energy “Just Go” and “Hyphy Juice” make sense in the right context: I dare you not to lose your shit to em’ on a good system.

Predating everything from Wayne’s Lolipop to The Knux’ Entourage rap to fellow Bay Area group Lonely Island’s “Jizz in my Pants” (on the real, a Team spoof from the beat to the delivery if there ever was one), World Premiere is one of rap’s best kept secrets this decade. And if none of that can convince you to give this album a shot, it gets the ladies open like crazy. – Sach O

MP3: The Team-“Bottles Up”
MP3: The Team-“Touch the Sky”

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