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Glasses Malone, Beach Cruiser

The last week of August was a good one for previously delayed albums. First, Game dropped his The R.E.D. Album on August 23; then, the next week, Lil Wayne released Tha Carter IV. That day wasn’t all about IV, though. It was a date that had also been circled by another man. Glasses Malone—a musical comrade of both (he’s part of YMCMB with Weezy and a fellow Left Coaster like Game)—finally got the go-ahead to drop his official debut album, Beach Cruiser, which was initially slated to to come out in 2006.

Glasses looks to prove it was worth the wait and he’s still hungry, and let’s listeners know from the start, spitting, “Back with a vengance/Back like the judge just reversed a life sentence,” on the album’s opening bars from “Kickstand”. This bounces into the synth-heavy “Eastsidin,” a Crip anthem alongside Snoop Dogg and Nipsey Hussle.

The rest of the project’s guest features are fitting, as well: West Coast Gs Mack 10, Jay Rock and Ya Boy, as well as YMCMB spitters and affiliates Birdman, Rick Ross, T-Pain and T. Lopez. Even with so many others along for the ride, Glasses is still able to make the offering feel decidedly his own.

The dope boy, getting’ money music continues throughout, including on the aptly titled “Dope,” “I Get Doe” and “Rich N Thuggin.” As a result, there are cliché concepts aplenty on Beach Cruiser, but the hood tales and money chasing dreams are rooted in the Watts native’s real experiences and executed excellently, complimented by beats that are funky and bouncy—exactly what you’d like to blast while cruising by the beach—and so the album holds up.

Five years after it was first supposed to drop, Beach Cruiser serves up street music with mainstream sound and sensibilities that finds a way to remain authentic, reminding why Glasses Malone was once anointed as a leader of a new breed of West Coast gangsterism. —Adam Fleischer

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