Mastercardboyz flaunt vicious and narcotic production on their second collective tape.
American producer Mastercard2k has a fixation on the filthy underside of the internet. As the de facto leader of collective Mastercardboyz, he sees that no one project lines up too well with any other the group put out. The phrase “Deep Web” shows up everywhere in their work, an allusion to illicit goods, backdoor entrances, and the sense of being in a forbidden place. Song titles like “SCAMMED MY ENTIRE FAMILY” and “Delete my Opps like Files” are found across masses and masses of tapes, EP’s, and albums. The discography of Mastercardboyz is like the unorganised download folders of a dozen salvaged laptops collated onto a broken hard drive. They want to break the idea of aesthetic cohesion, of cleanliness and calculation, and in doing so brand what they do with a weirdly personal stamp. This concept is represented well by the second volume of their self-titled mixtape series.
2k opens the project with “300 ft. seepy”, a considerable move away from the insane murkiness of “DeepWebMoney Platinum Edition” a few months prior. The leads he presents on this project are cleaner, the bass doesn’t clip so wildly, but the same motive remains. Much of what this album presents tests the limit of listenability, pushing closer to the edge seemingly at random. “Bleed”, from group member 3d$, is the best result of this ethos. It is, by design, unorganised – 808’s are mixed into the mid range and drums slide around as if on ice; the instability of the drum patterns are countered by a playful and sparkling synth lead that coats the song in an addictive sugar. cash 8a8y applies similar tactics with “Christian Louboutin”, pixelating and distorting industrial kicks against dreamlike melodies.
Though all attempt to merge elegance and pain, the best songs on “Vol. 2” are those that push to access other emotions. “Why?” is adventurous and daring, recalling the dungeons and caverns of an 8-bit game like The Legend of Zelda, whereas “Shawty Want Luv” is blissful, reminiscent of mid-2010s MexikoDro. “Thank You Beyonce” is the only break in the Mastercardboyz’ protocol of darkness, a gorgeously constructed sample-heavy boom-bap beat, conducted by a mellow bass guitar. It calls for pure relaxation, and just about fits at the end of the record, a more experimental space than the high-octane opening half. raydajay expresses this free flowing attitude with “Language” and its deconstructed melody.
“Mastercardboyz Vol. 2” knows its niche but commits to nothing but volume. The music is there, the effort is there, and for the most part the album meets its own goals, but as a collection of very short pieces it feels fragile. Nothing is overly established, nothing is set in stone. The energy of digital signals radiates throughout the tape; “Mastercardboyz Vol. 2” is as electric as it is fleeting.
Listen to “Mastercardboyz Vol. 2” here.
– Jamie (@youngjade1216)