[HAZE HOP] Do you smoke good? Lawz and G_Force, aka Green Team, sure do, and they’d like to tell you about it. On the duo’s new 10-track “concept album,” Official, the MC/producers rhyme over some pretty hot beats about bud and bitches. Both Portland artists have a hefty amount of work already under their belts, and considering this album was produced in three days under lockdown, the beats are nothing to shake a Thai stick at. Lyrically, though, Official leaves much to be desired.
The album opens with “Wake & Bake,” a gorgeously arranged and sultry track featuring singer Caitlin Cardier’s smooth upper register and a nice climbing piano riff. The MCs spend the song talking about “money, tree and women,” revealing early (and, as will be proven, often) exactly how they live. It closes with a pretty hilarious interlude about rolling papers.
The album’s midsection, though, is a weedy—if slightly frantic—haze. The production remains solid throughout, most notably on “Rolled Up” and “Blue City Lights,” both of which rely on jazz and orchestral samples for their epic scale and sense of grandeur. The latter song, though, lost me at the first mention of “swag”—the 21st-century equivalent to saying “word to your mother.”
“Watch It Burn” rolls in, featuring fellow Portlander Illmaculate, with an 8-bit motif moving into a heavy electric-guitar-driven bounce. It’s here that the lyrical subject matter broadens: The MCs talk about drama between friends and shooting cops. “Watch it burn, watch it burn/ And I mean that in a lot of ways,” they then chant, making sure we don’t forget about the green.
The ’80s synths and mellow backing rhythms of “Blue Dreams” lend the track a Biggie-ish feel, eschewing the album’s previous haywire aesthetic for something slightly more at ease.
Green Team’s attempt at a day-in-the-life album. The record’s arc is
appropriate for that—the duo even nods off for a “Weed Nap” on the
penultimate track. But for artists with so much great work already
behind them—G_Force and Illmaculate’s Green Tape was inspired; Lawz’s Standing in the Rain garnered a lot of deserved praise—I would have hoped their days included a bit more skillful rhyming.
SEE IT: The Green Team’s Official is out now.