Playboy Tre, Liquor Store Mascot
Warm-hearted, honest and self-deprecating country rap tunes from an underground Atlanta vet
Playboy Tre is "way older than your average," as he points out towards the end of this warm-hearted, funny and end-to-end excellent rap mixtape Liquor Store Mascot. What "way older than your average" means in the world of rap usually means is "over 35," and indeed, Playboy Tre — the name probably made more sense when he came up with it as a cocky, womanizing twentysomething — has been kicking around Atlanta for years, slinging raps on the local underground circuit and writing hooks for other rappers. Liquor Store Mascot, released earlier this year with zero label backing, is a grown man's wry and rueful document of his many flaws, delivered in a dead-on perfect imitation of your salty, drunken uncle.
As the album title and art might suggest, Playboy has what you might call a "drinking problem" — but be careful saying that around him. Like most drunks, his love of the bottle is both an affliction and a perverse badge of honor, and the mixed-up bravado and shame with which he raps about his love affair with alcohol on the brilliant Gil Scott-Heron-sampling "Livin' In the Bottle" will break your heart. "I'm a blood-line sipper/I come from a history of drunks, it's in my blood now, n*gga!" he crows, and you can't quite tell if it's a chest-thump or a lament. Or both.
A few of the tracks are produced by Playboy Tre's associate, B.o.B. aka Bobby Ray, whose major-label deal is currently stuck in the rap-music version of "development hell." The sound is classic Dungeon Family-era rap: the humid warmth of live instruments backed by bone-juddering 808 kicks. If you have any nostalgic memories of classic Goodie Mob or pre-Aquemini Outkast, then you need to become acquainted with this man.