Rating: 8 / 10
For most people, when you mention Ham Squad, you think of B.o.B, not his partner in rhyme, Playboy Tre. If you did, you’d most likely associate his name with the online antics (most notably the Youtube videos) instead of his music. However, you'd be mistaken to simply ignore his skill, or his relevance when it comes to his consistency when delivering feature verses, or in this case, quality mixtapes. Tre's been a workhorse for quite some time, and although he's played the background in the past, he's still quite the monster when it comes to lyrics and concepts; with the recent release of Liquor Store Mascot 2: Patron & Instrumentals, he does that yet again.
As you could assume from the title, most of the songs and lyrics here are liquor-fueled, but it never truly becomes a redundant title due to Tre's creativity. It doesn't mean that there aren't a couple of "party and bullsh**" songs like "5th of Drank" and "We All In", but the project isn't limited to those type of songs and that’s what makes this enjoyable. "Shot of Rum" is essentially a posse cut which takes a disrespectfully clever line from P. Dukes' first bars ("I got your girl on a shot of rum / she say that's too strong so she chased it with a shot of c*m") and features Bobby Creekwater, Jarren Benton, Homebwoi, and Bo Hagon (of BME / Lil' Jon fame). "Lady Liquor" has Playboy Tre making the comparison of his bottle to a beautiful but conniving female. The self-titled track ("Patron & Instrumentals") has him just reflecting over different aspects of his life.
All of this is in addition to the other high-quality tracks featured here. "Still Standing" and "Care After Me" all have inspirational themes running through them, and Tre is still as lyrically potent on these songs as he is when rhyming with the intent of dropping memorable lines. The production is also solid throughout, with beats being helmed from a plethora of producers that include The Honorable C-Note, Homebwoi, Young Shawn, DJ Burn One, and more. Overall, there isn't much to dislike here unless you mistake the liquor-fueled lyrics to be liquor-filled, and surprisingly, that's not the case here. With solid production, well executed lyrics and concepts, and a few standout features (most notably from Big Rec on "SomethingToSay" due to his ridiculous flow), Playboy Tre's Liquor Store Mascot 2: Patron & Instrumentals is definitely worthy of its rating.