Reprinted from the October 1995 issue of The 411
SOULS OF MISCHIEF, No Man's Land, Jive
The mighty Souls of Mischief crew's sophomore album had been long-awaited for several reasons. First, they touched down with a tornado with "'93 Til Infinity" -- the bomb single and theme song for 1993. After the single was released, the album took a bit longer to be released than expected, and when it did finally hit the streets, it was raw, but not as fresh as it was built up to be. Souls makes up a large part of the Hieroglyphics Crew, a West Coast-based hip-hop clique that doesn't follow the gangsta trends. The Oaktown group consists of four rappers: A-Plus, Opio, Tajai and Phesto -- all with raw and hard-nosed lyrics, but the delivery is unique for each rapper. The album begins with an intro, which is more of a mini-track, introducing a bit of what the album stands for. Next, the track "No Man's Land" brings out a fresh flow of lyrics with a funky-ass deep bassline tapering in the background. This song introduces pimped-out melodies but also has a rough rhyme that is very seldom heard in the same song together. The whole album is the bizomb and I could ramble on about every song. But to name a few of the hella-tight golden tracks on this funky album, the top of the list must begin with "Where the F--- You At," a mix that seems to creep its way along down the hoods and lifestyles of each individual rapper. This covers batches, sluts and cluckas. The production is one of a kind, with the main cut break-in using an electric organ and hardcore drumbeats. Next, "'94 Via Satellite" is dope with fresh sound effects, and Del the Funkee Homosapien gets his money on with a blizzard of rhymes. "Rock It Like That" is made up of an ol' school beat with jazzy samples that create a Run DMC feel, but is original with Opio and Tajai's trademark Hieroglyphics flavor. The 12 songs on this album are all equal in talent. They give dips of all flavors, from old school beats and jazz samples to lavish basslines and lyrics uniquely macked together to equal Hieroglyphics bomb sh-- as a result. This album includes a lot of scratchin' and cuttin', which is sadly almost extinct in today's rap industry. In this second album released by the Souls, the lyrics are still raw and rugged, but also refined with a little more flow of sugar added to the tight production. The Souls of Mischief don't follow trends, but create their own trend, which can be a difficult task considering they're comin' from the Westside. They don't jump on the bandwagon just to make a quick dollar, but stay true to their home, claimin' they're down with the West. A-Plus, Opio, Tajai and Phesto do not have the sophomore curse by any means, earning themselves a fifty. Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- B.J. Maniac

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