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Getting a strong start on the new decade, Grammy award-winning producer Cardo serves up a gumbo pot full of funky synths, cowbells, and game giving on his latest album, “Game Related.” He recruits player partners and rappers Larry June, Payroll Giovanni and HBK for the project.

Together, they tailor a soundtrack to fast living with fabric only suited for a true to life player. The album features ego-boosting titles like “See U Hatin’,” “Stacks on Deck” and “Feels Good 2 Be a Hustla.” It includes other pure riding music gems like “Stats” and the jazzed-up “Amg Snatchin’.” On the album cover, the four prominently carousel around the game of life–the board game–navigating guns and butter.

Packed with exuberant funk- and jazz-based sounds, “Game Related” spoils us with the easy, nonchalant candor of Larry June and Payroll Giovanni’s usual street wisdom wielding. Additionally, Payroll’s BYLUG comrade and track slayer HBK holds his own, at times stealing the show (and headlining his own such as on “See U Hatin'”).

Each die roll on the game related board of life hits for a special permutation of verses, choruses, and beats standing in as choruses. Sometimes Larry June takes over hook duties, like on album standout “Stacks on Deck.” Other times Payroll Giovanni has his own share like on “Best Behavior.”

A jaunty HBK adds a special spark, often playing cleanup after verses from Larry June and Payroll Giovanni. However, on “Foreign Today,” HBK ushers in his BYLUG brethren, Payroll Giovanni, who closes the bouncy tune out. HBK rhymes with a blunt force deliberateness as heard on “January 30,” “Payface” and other earlier Payroll Giovanni albums.

Cardo has previously collaborated with San Francisco’s Larry June on his album, “Out the Trunk,” and Detroit’s Payroll Giovanni and HBK on “Big Bossin’, Vol. 1“and “Big Bossin’, Vol. 2.”

“Game Related” is patent playalisticmusic–funky like an old batch of black-eyed peas. (I know, collard greens.) The gang forms an undeniably lethal punch, leaving no taste bud for new year good luck untouched.

Glasses in the air, players.

Take a listen via Spotify and Apple Music below. Check out the Rappurview feature on Payroll Giovanni and his “10 Stack Commandments” album.

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