I don’t know much about Rancho Cordova; but I’m guessing there’s some pretty smooth scenery out in that part of California. Especially if those were the vistas Armando Ruiz was taking inspiration from when he assembled his latest beat tape; Que Sera, Sera. The whole tape is top to bottom hip hop easy listening, with smoked out snares, jazzy hits and mellow melodies to lift your mood and make the tape a cleansing listening experience that’s as refreshingly optimistic as it is lazily relaxed.
Using Reason, Ableton and Akai’s iconic MPC2000xl to assemble his aural landscapes, the man known as Sincerely, Mando has created a beat tape that encompasses his own sound creatively, but leaves room for experimentation. Twenty Seven tracks float by in no time and will quickly have you reaching for that replay button and another puff on the devils lettuce. He retains focus by reigning in the repetition of phrases within the short song structure, and works simply and effectively to give each track it’s own identity within the larger soundscape; leaving space for the listener to drift off into, and keeping his sounds calm enough so you can either zone out, or pay full attention, and still feel fulfilled. Horns and vocal lines echo over punchy drums providing a soothing mood, nearly every rap line sampled is instantly recognisable if you’ve been following the culture for a while, and the vocals are incorporated subtly enough to compliment the track without drawing focus from the melody.
Be There begins the tape strongly with an upbeat break, from the off the tape exudes a warmth as if the melodies come freshly soaked in the coast’s sun rays. Unorganized roughens up the serene scene somewhat with some Large Pro-style horns rockin over Nas & Meth quotes. Summthin Luvly is just that; Loose drums, echoing brass and string loops unwind slowly over the minute or so the track lasts, slowly dissolving into the more dissonant pan-pipe-funk of Summernights-Alchydays, before the vibe sombrely slides back into a golden era, jazz-laced bump on Overcast Loops; another highlight that will have older heads reminiscing back to the days when simple hittin’ beats had MCs clamouring for the mic. The disjointed melodies on No Thrills balance a minor bassline with major horn accompaniments to create a dizzying, ambient groove that settles in and then abruptly morphs into a dope summertime jingle on Neva Evas boom bap break. Despite it’s depressingly narcissistic moniker, Selfloathing is one of the tape’s most optimistic songs; and the repetition of the vocal line over the gentle ambient sounds, simple drum programming and warm textures create one of Mando’s best beats.
Mornings Noons Sambas captures the producers sound perfectly; cleverly placed samples, simple melody and effortless cool, unrestricted by his imagination, and allowed to reach whichever musical conclusion the song ends up at without contrivance. Early Merlot strips down some chopped and screwed vocals to bare bones that knock hard along with the strong rhythm section. On songs like Gota Go Away he straight-up slams out rap beats that leave you grasping for a pen and pad; then displays his diversity on more lackadaisical bong-baiting numbers like What Can It Be, as the song’s ill Raekwon loops and chilled trumpet arrangements make it my favourite beat on the album. He closes the album as strongly as he opens it; Starch is dope and could as easily be used by any MC in the 90’s hip hop scene as it could by any of the current crop. Nspiteofmyself penultimately ends the tape on an upbeat with some cool drum programming that sounds like it’s straining to cling to the track to stop itself falling out of time, before finally the outro carries the tape home on Ice Cube’s easily distinguishable dulcet tones.
There’s always a barrage of new music coming over the internet to anyone willing to seek it; and with that constant flow comes producer after producer trying to get their beats heard; Sincerely, Mando is one of the many that deserve attention. His audible journey through his sampler is a carefree and calm vibe inspired by his surroundings; and as long as he continues to make music from the heart and provide a laid back soundtrack for heads to chill to; every new batch of beats he cooks up is guna be as enjoyable as the last.