First Impressions: Berner & B-Real – Los Meros

Berner is a 38 year old rapper from San Francisco who is best known for his work as part of Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang label. B-Real is a 49 year old rapper from Los Angeles who is most well know for his work as half of the hiphop group Cypress Hill. The two rappers have collaborated many times before, releasing a series of 3 mixtapes between 2014 and 2016, Prohibition, Prohibition Part 2, and then unsurprisingly Prohibition Part 3.

On the 20th of April 2020 (420) Berner and B-Real released their 4th collaborative project, a 15 song album titled ‘Los Meros’. The album is stacked with features on almost every track and was preceded by the Rick Ross assisted single ‘Candy’ which was released a couple of weeks prior to the album. Below I’m going to review the project in two parts, first will be my observations on each track as I listened through, and following that will be my thoughts on the album as a whole. I’ll include some links to stream the album and some discussion questions at the end. Enjoy!

Track By Track Review

1. On The Wall (ft. Ty Dolla $ign) – start drags on far too long, first 40 seconds are real boring. Berner has some decent rhymes and bars but his delivery is pretty average and the flows aren’t too special. Hook is repetitive and boring. B-Real has an exciting delivery and he changes up his flow a decent amount throughout, the bars aren’t too special but it’s a decent verse. Ty Dolla sounds nice but isn’t utilised much at all throughout the song. Drags on a minute too long at the end, a below average song overall

2. While Driving (ft. Wiz Khalifa) – Fairly exciting beat on this one, has some real nice piano in it. Berger’s flow is pretty lazy and his delivery too, but it sounds quite good over the beat. Still a fairly average verse. Wiz has a simple flow but his delivery is enjoyable and he rides the beat well. B-Real has some basic flows and his delivery is boring, probably the worst verse on this one. The Wiz hook flows really well and is probably the best sounding part of the song. This one could’ve ended about a minute earlier too. Average song at best

3. Fuel (ft. Dave East) – Takes 20ish seconds good long to get going. Berner delivery is super boring again and his flows aren’t anything special at all, had a couple of okay quotables and rhymes in his verse but it’s unenjoyable as a whole. The beat has some nice vocal samples and is quite mellow overall, quite enjoyable. B-Real has a similarly mediocre verse to the last song, his flows are basic and I don’t like his delivery much at all on this. Hook isn’t very good, real forgettable. Dave East brings this amazing energy to the track that the others lacked, has some impressive flows and a real enjoyable delivery throughout, lots of great rhymes and bars too, probably the best verse of the album so far. Enjoyed the beat and Dave East on this but the rest dragged it down, just a decent song overall

4. Candy (ft. Rick Ross) – heard this when it dropped and I love it, amazing track. Has one of the catchiest instrumentals of the year which gets stuck in your head so easily. Berner has the usual boring delivery but his flows are Great and he rides the beat amazingly, so the delivery works in his favour. B-Real has some similarly impressive flows and also rides the beat amazingly. Hook is simple and repetitive but catchy and puts emphasis on the amazing instrumental. Loved the Rick Ross feature, Has be enjoyable delivery, some great rhymes and rides the beat just as well as the others. Great track

5. Los Meros (ft. Xzibit) – Super exciting best from the get-go, has this real frantic piano melody that I love. Berner’s monotone delivery works incredibly well on this one too, His flows and rhymes are thoroughly enjoyable and are complimented perfectly by the beat. B-Real’s hook has a real nice flow to it and is quite catchy, not a great hook but I like it. His verse is just as great as Berners, rides the beat with ease and has a whole lot of great flows and bars despite not changing his delivery much at all. XZibit has this amazing menacing delivery throughout his verse and changes up his flows a bunch, lots of great bars and rhymes too, actually a super enjoyable feature verse. Real good song all the way through, and didn’t drag on!

6. Ride With Us (ft. Nava) – B-Real has some real interesting rhyme schemes in his verse and flows surprisingly well, real good start to the song. Berners verse has some great rhymes but his flows are super basic again and his delivery is the usual one dimensional monotone drone. The Nava hook is actually really nice, is interesting too. Has some great melodies and I love how it’s rapped in two different languages. B-Real is just as impressive on the second verse as the first, more amazing flows and just an all round enjoyable verse to listen too. Love the structure of the song with each rapper handling half of each verse. Berner isn’t too much better on the second verse than the first but he rides the beat well and compliments B-Real well as well. Song drags on a bit too long similarly to the first 3 songs. Good track but B-Real was the easy standout

7. Vision (ft. Aleman & Hennessy) – Really like the beat on this one, has some simple drums but this super exciting woodwind like synth melody. Another track where Berners lazy delivery works surprisingly well, has some real enjoyable simple flows and rhymes, real good verse despite the lack of exciting delivery. Really enjoy the Hennessy vocals on the hook, some real intriguing melodies but it’s a catchy little hook overall. B-Real has some more great flows and a real great delivery on his verse, some more decent bars too. Aleman has a decently enjoyable verse despite not being able to understand it, he rides the beat with ease and an okay delivery too, real impressive end to his verse with the change up in flows. Good song but felt like it was lacking something

8. Head Down (ft. Ty Dolla $ign) – Enjoy parts of Ty Dolla’s hook, has some nice melodies at the start but is a bit repetitive and boring at the end. Ty has a surprisingly fire verse though, flows consistently well throughout and has a good mix of solid rapping and beautiful melodies. Berner has some more great rhymes and flows over the beat really well, has the usual delivery though and no memorable bars, okay verse. B-Real doesn’t sound the best on this, His vocals just don’t seem real clean. Has some nice rhymes and some decent flows but nothing too exciting. On the fence about this overall but nothing was too great about it

9. Just Breathe (ft. Everlast) – another nice mellow beat with some pleasant vocal samples in the background. Berners flows and delivery aren’t too special again, fairly mediocre verse all the way through. Hook is repetitive and forgetful. Love the way the beat leads into the B-Real verse. Everlast flows well over the beat and has some more decent bars and rhymes, not a great verse but it’s enjoyable. Everlast has a great delivery but it doesn’t change up at all, flows change up a bit but none of them are too exciting. He has some impressive rhyme schemes at times but his verse overall isn’t too great. Okay song overall but nothing too memorable about it

10. Prevail (ft. Paul Wall) – Some great subtle vocal samples yet again and a real enjoyable guitar, another real chill beat overall. Berners delivery is as boring as expected and his flows and bars are basic for the most part. Berners hook isn’t too special either, has a good flow to it and meshes nicely with the best but is forgettable. B-Real has some funny bars in his verse and rides the beat really well, has some nice changes in his flows throughout too, and some great rhymes here and there, good verse. Paul Wall has a real average delivery and his flows are super simple throughout, has a couple of good bars but it’s a boring feature verse overall. Song dragged on a bit too, mediocre song overall

11. Midnight Flights (ft. Baby Bash & Trick Trick) – B-Reals usual delivery isn’t too exciting on this, flows aren’t too great either, average start to the song. The Baby Bash Hook is okay, has an okay flow to it and is kinda catchy but isn’t good enough to warrant the repetitions Berners lazy flows and monotone delivery is boring throughout his verse, nothing too enjoyable. Trick Trick has a great charisma, his delivery isn’t too special but combined with his funny bars and solid flows his verse just oozes personality. This was okay but I can’t see myself coming back to it

12. Island Vibes (ft. Cozmo & Everlast) – B-Reals complex rhyme schemes are kinda impressive but seem a bit forced and unnecessary at times, still rides the beat quite well for the most part. Cozmo’s hook is delivered well and is quite catchy too. Berners flow and delivery is just as boring as most of these songs, lacks impressive bars and rhymes too. Everlast has some simple flows and rhymes but he pulls it off, rides the beat really well and just sounds real great throughout his verse. Song dragged on over a minute too long, song was a good vibe but was real forgetful overall

13. Live Your Life – More real beautiful production with some pleasant piano, brass instrumentation and vocal samples. Unfortunately Berner sucks all the energy out of the track with his monotone delivery and generic flows, doesn’t have any standout bars either. Hook is simple and has a nice rhyme scheme but isn’t too catchy. B-Real has some real impressive rhymes and some okay flows, delivery isn’t too special but it’s a better verse than Berners. Just an average song

14. House Titles (ft. Demrick) – Berners Hook is boring, lacks energy in his delivery and isn’t too memorable in any way. His verse isn’t too great either, has some solid flows and great rhymes at times but he just doesn’t sound very enjoyable. B-Real has his usual delivery which is getting a bit boring at this point but he brings out some super enjoyable rhymes in this one, and flows well enough That his verse sounds good almost all the way through. Demrick has some life to his delivery which is nice, rides the beat really well and flows quite well for his verse, consistently great rhymes too. Decent song at times, but not too good overall

15. Been Real – Another mellow beat but this one is quite simple and not as exciting as most. Hook is repetitive and the delivery isn’t very exciting, forgettable hook overall. Berners delivery is as bad as usual for the most part, has some nice inflections at times, and his flows aren’t too great at all in this. B-Real doesn’t really offer anything too great on this, has his usual delivery and the flows and rhymes are more basic than on his better verses. Another real forgettable track, mediocre at best

Album Review

In the end I felt like this album was just okay. There was a stretch of 5 songs I thoroughly enjoyed in the middle of the album and a couple of other high points scattered throughout, but just about everything else was just average at best, and the album therefore was quite boring overall.

Although each of them impressed me at times, I felt B-Real and Berner were the worst parts of this album, with both of them barely changing up their flows or delivery throughout the album. It worked in their favour with the production complimenting their respective sounds on certain songs, such as Berner on ‘Head Down’ or B-Real on ‘Ride With Us’ & ‘Prevail’. The problem was that they rarely had great verses on the same track, but when they did it worked amazingly, with the most notable examples being ‘Candy’ and the title track ‘Los Meros’.

I think the best part of the album was the production, which had this consistently chill vibe, often utilising calming instrumentation and vocal samples amazingly. Almost all the beats were interesting in someway and did well to compliment the vocals even when they weren’t all that strong. In contrast one of the weakest parts of the album were its hooks, which were rarely catchy, and forgettable for the most part.

I can’t review the album without mentioning the features, which were on almost every song and were often the standout part of their respective track. I enjoyed a lot of the featured artists performances, but the ones that impressed me the most were Xzibits fire feature verse on ‘Los Meros’ which brought a much needed energy to the track, and Dave East with what was easily the best verse on the otherwise boring ‘Fuel’. Each of these were possibly my favourite features from them, but lots of others also had noteworthy features; Rick Ross did the immaculate beat on ‘Candy’ justice, Wiz Khalifa did his thing on ‘While Driving’, & I loved Ty Dolla $ign’s verse on ‘Head Down’ despite not being a fan of either of his hooks on the project. A couple of previously unknown artists grabbed my attention at times, with Nava spitting a fire verse on ‘Ride With Us’ despite it not being in English, and Everlast meshing perfectly with the others on the beautifully produced ‘Just Breathe’. Demrick, Trick Trick, Aleman & Hennessy were all great additions too but I could go on about the features all day! The only features I though were forgettable were Cozmo on ‘Island Vibes’, Baby Bash on ‘Midnight Flights’ & Paul Wall on ‘Prevail’

So in summary I felt like this album showed the potential of both Berner & B-Real when they’re at their best, but unfortunately those moments were rare throughout the project. Each of them sounded amazing at times, and there was a fair share of great features and production, but for the most part Berner and B-Real’s rapping was boring and predictable and that brought my enjoyment of the album down as a whole. If you’re a fan of either artist I imagine you would like this as they sound quite similar to how they always have; or if you’re looking for a decent new smoking album this definitely fits that niche (but even then it was the third best album released on 420!)

Final Notes

You can stream the album on Spotify here, or on Apple Music here!

Or you can listen for free on YouTube here!

My Favourite Songs were Candy, Los Meros, Ride With Us, Vision, Head Down & Just Breathe (this one Was a grower)

What were your favourite songs on the album?

Who do you think was stronger out of Berner & B-Real?

Who do you think had the best feature onLos Meros?

Thanks For Reading!

– Shan –

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