Friday, 26 March 2010

Souls of Mischief Concert Review at Passion of the Weiss

Check out this Souls of Mischief concert review I wrote for Passion of the Weiss. As entertaining as the show was, it was more exciting to me to see 150 people packing a venue to see 3/4s of Souls of Mischief rip shit 20 years into their career. Proves that cats like these can stay relevant into their 30s through touring and hard work. Click the excerpt below for the whole spiel.

Following the meteoric rise of NWA and Dr. Dre, gangsta rap and G-Funk owned West commercial airwaves. Of course, there were alternatives like the Good Life CafĂ©, where the jazz-inspired Freestyle Fellowship and The Pharcyde got their start (also where a pre-Dogg Pound Kurupt cut his teeth). But Souls of Mischief was an anomaly when they emerged from Oakland in 1993, a time when the Bay was ruled by the rolling, bass-driven beats and mack braggadocio of E-40 and Too $hort. Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Souls and the rest of the Hieroglyphics crew were among the first in the Bay to champion the East Coast-style of sampling and complex lyricism. ’93 Til Infinity showcased A-Plus, Opio, Tajai and Phesto’s distinct flows over thumping, jazz-sampled beats. Recorded before any of the group’s members could legally drink, the album has a playful afterschool vibe reminiscent of Pharcyde.

Re: older rappers who've stayed relevant, please read this incredible interview with Too $hort, conducted by the god Noz.

DX: Do you think majors are still a necessity for lesser-known artists?
Too Short: I think the major labels do what they do. They know how to make you a big star. If you're not on your way to being a big star then there's really no place for you at a major. They wait for that lightning in a bottle. If you put a single out and it's a super hit, they're rolling with it. Anything short of that they're not fucking with you.

How many people have we seen, in their own region, build up hundreds of thousands of dollars with independent labels? They run the community, everybody loves them and then they sign with a major and the shit fades away. "So-and-so got a five million dollar deal, they the new shit." Next thing you know, two or three years later and they're gone. It happens so many times. But then on the flip side, Cash Money [Records] and labels like that thrived in a major label system.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Raheem DeVaughn – The Love & War MasterPeace Review at Exclaim!

My review of the new Raheem DeVaughn album just went up at Exclaim! Read it here. Spoiler: I like it a lot. Reminds me a lot of  What’s Going On and Curtis, and not just because “Bulletproof” samples “We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue”.

Also: Did you know that house/hip-hop pioneer Kenny Dope produced 3/4 of this record? Really interesting to see a producer with feet in so many genres contribute to a mainstream R&B record.

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