Another eye-catcher from Berkeley native Blanco, the artwork for “Molly & Amber” salutes one of the most singular albums of one of our time’s most singluar artists, Kanye West’s “808s and Heartbreak.” Also equipped with an artistic sense but clearly much less musical talent, Blanco continues his series of EPs scored by a choice producer. This time it is Bosko’s turn, a veteran of the Bay Area scene whose career spans two decades. The Portland producer succeeds in keeping his sound fresh with cloudy keys, melancholic pianos, guzheng strings and just a generally timeless approach to making music. One skill of Bosko’s that Blanco makes full use of is his reputation on the talkbox, which is solidified by features on Big Boi and Kanye West singles.

Blanco again tries to keep the listener curious with enigmatic song titles, although his clientele should easily be able to identify the drugs behind the girl names. Not completely arbitrarily but still mostly haphazardly he mixes his drug cocktail from the same ingredients of intoxicants, illicit activities and women. He’s aware that there’s a modern way to do that, one that involves self-reflection, and he pursues that direction in his typical sleeptalking manner, but it’s all very unsubstantial and unorganized. Moments like “I need love and affection / I need drug intervention” (from the title track) are too brief to really have a lasting effect when at the same time you feel the rapper still struggles with the basics of the artform.

While sticking to his proven formula, this time Blanco ignores the number one rule when it comes to music featuring Blanco – that he should never have to hold a track down on his own. Now also available as a CD collectible, “Molly & Amber” is dedicated to deceased Bay Area legend Tha Jacka (Blanco’s collaborator on a number of EPs), and if viewed as an unspoken tribute to the rapper who helped pioneer the vibe rap is on nowadays (he’s still featured on the closing “Tina”), the EP has a good enough reason to exist, apart from reminding everybody of Bosko’s talents.

Blanco :: Molly & Amber
4.5Overall Score