In some circles, Playboy Tre may still be known as B.o.B’s sidekick and collaborator. He won’t let his title as part-time hypeman for the budding pop star slow down his grind or clamp his own musical aspirations, though. Instead, Tre gets back in the studio and delivers his new mixtape, Liquor Store Mascot 2: Patron & Instrumentals.

Much of the project revolves around overcoming obstacles and the vices that are indulged along the way. Early on, “Still Standing” brings this to the forefront, and the rapper acknowledges the knock of Bobby Ray companionship on his name. “And it don’t matter how I got there, bitch, I’m on the stage/The crowd rapping my bars, they say they fuck with Tre,” he raps. Later, “The Long Way” is a funkdafied reflection and story of triumph. “Patron & Instrumentals” finds Tre taking the listener through peaks and valleys, getting personal and talking about the joy of having a child on the way, relating it to his once torn relationship with his own father.

Though the thread purported in the title remains consistent and allows the project to feel whole, it can also grow a bit tiresome, at times. On “We All In,” we find out that, “My best friend vodka, my girlfriend Hen,” and the liquor license continues on cuts like “Drankin’ Flow” (featuring some tongue twisters from Rittz), and “Shot of Rum.”

With an equal dosage of partying and pensiveness, Liquor Store Mascot 2: Patron & Instrumentals exhibits Playboy Tre's abilities as a stand alone MC. Whether or not he ever fully steps out of B.o.B's shadow remains to be seen, but for now, in the very least, he mixes up something worth taking a sip of. —Adam Fleischer (@AdamXXL)