MNDR and Killer Mike contribute to a seductive and lilting backdrop of hypnotic synths and dubby echoes for a collaboration with an otherwise threatening chorus: "Lock and load, fire!" The track, "Lock & Load," is the second single off the upcoming album, Alchemist and Oh No Presents: Welcome to Los Santos, which comprises companion music for the 2013 game Grand Theft Auto V. The record includes tracks by a diverse roster of hip-hop and indie rock, including A$AP Ferg, TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, E-40, Wavves and Action Bronson, many of whom collaborated with one another. The full track list is below.
"Lock & Load" – whose music was written by the producers recording together as Gangrene – shows off the best of both featured artists: serene, swelling electronic textures and breathy vocals from MNDR and an eerie, confrontational wake-up call from Killer Mike about how "shit's fucked up" and how "I cannot be stifled."
For MNDR, it was a perfect pairing. "In the world of hip-hop, I have worked with Mark Ronson, Q-Tip, DJ Mustard, Murs, Spank Rock and many others for different projects and live performances," she tells Rolling Stone. "But Killer Mike is a genius."
It was the album's co-producers who thought up the coupling after writing the music to include in the game's "The Lab" radio station playlist. "The track was originally part of the score, but always felt like it could hold its own as a record for someone to either rap or sing on," Alchemist says. "It had the feel of the game but still had hard drums and a tempo that could cater well to a verse/song. Since it also had a strong lead guitar, we felt that it would be cool if we could put together an MC and a rock band together on the record. We threw names around. MNDR and Killer Mike seemed like it would be a good fit. They killed it."
A sample of the track debuted in the trailer for the upcoming re-release of Grand Theft Auto V, which will be available on PC starting April 14th. The video plays at 60 frames per second for high-definition viewing.
Alchemist says he and Oh No generally tried to reach "outside of the usual pool of artists" for Welcome to Los Santos, which they created in association with Tangerine Dream and Woody Jackson. They previously released "Play It Cool," Gangrene's own collaboration with Earl Sweatshirt and Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring.
"To be able to combine so many different genres of music in one cohesive project is a great feat for myself and Oh No, but it also only seems right, as the records we have always dug through when looking for samples were always so vast and various," he says. "The end result was always something that sounds like us, but the source materials were never specific to one particular genre, which is to me what makes rap music so appealing to so many different types of people."
The album, available for preorder now, is due out April 21st via Mass Appeal Records and Rockstar Games.
Alchemist and Oh No Presents: Welcome to Los Santos Track List:
1. Gangrene, "Play It Cool" feat. Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands and Earl Sweatshirt
2. Ab-Soul, "Trouble" feat. Aloe Blacc
3. Tunde Adebimpe, "Speedline Miracle Masterpiece" feat. Sal P and Sinkane
4. MC Eiht & Freddie Gibbs, "Welcome to Los Santos" feat. Kokane
5. Phantogram, "K.Y.S.A"
6. Vybz Kartel, "Fast Life"
7. King Avriel, "20's 50's 100's" feat. A$AP Ferg
8. MNDR, "Lock & Load" feat. Killer Mike
9. Popcaan, "Born Bad" feat. Freddie Gibbs
10. E-40, "California" feat. Dam-Funk and Ariel Pink
11. Wavves, "Leave"
12. Curren$y & Freddie Gibbs, "Fetti"
13. Little Dragon, "Wanderer"
14. Action Bronson and Danny Brown, "Bad News"