Souls of Mischief, Montezuma's Revenge

Sjimon Gompers

Souls of Mischief, Montezuma's Revenge [Hiero Imperium]

Recently leaked tracks “Proper
Aim” and “La La La” had fans anticipating a release rumored to be a future
classic tantamount to the inimitable 93 to Infinity. “It’s a new album
and a new beginning for us,” Tajai explained.

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The firm opener “Won1” explains “the
whole Hiero coalition ain’t no gimmick.” Backed by a Knight Rider theme
styled bass synth with a fuzzy ’60s Laurel Canyon sounding guitar, the Souls Of Mischief crew boast a collective win by
remaining number one in the rap game. Followed by “Postal,” the crew
delves into serious, complicated matters of understanding their significant
others through stories of conflict and recourse for resolution, “Understand I’m
a work in progress, all this fussin’ just hurt the process.” The group
discusses the causes and effects of emotional traumas and romantic dramas by
providing narratives of both voices involved in these relationship portraits. “You’re
so loco, when you go postal, you like that, you like that, you like that, don’t
you?”

The mythologies of Infinity’s shear brilliance could present a daunting task of matching for even the most
important East Bay collective of inventive underground rap. Yet understanding
the sound comparison between the budding alternative
hi­p
hop defining breakthrough of
SOM in 1993 to an even more assured and accomplished sound on Montezuma’s
Revenge
is like comparing William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence” to “Songs of
Experience.” Infinity echoed a chilled out, youthful “Song of Innocence” that
laid out the expansive future for these four wise men. Jams like the cool-chilled-single-massive “Tour
Stories,” produced by Domino and Prince Paul depicts their lives lived months
on the road with a strong willed epic and reflective beat. “Tour Stories” is a “Song
of Experience” that displays the quartet as cool and confident dishing out a
interwoven web of scenes from the road, “true stories, tour stories.”

Conscious tracks of smooth deliveries
bring the street smart “You Got It,” to the ultra cool “Hiero HQ” which brings
out the entire Hieroglyphics and SOM crews with Prince Paul providing a heavy Blaxpoitation soundtrack styled back beat,
equipped with trippy panning effects of Del’s voice coming in and out during
the beat breakdowns. The posse represents the Hiero crew, describing their
power of lyrical prowess. “Get splattered when I spatter, I let you maggots
have it!”

No Prince Paul produced record would be complete without a few skits and throughout Montezuma’s
Revenge
the talent and humor of the collective shines through. The skits deal with writers block to a hilarious skit of an impersonated Morgan
Freeman acting like a P. Diddy-esque hip-hop mogul. Yet the serious element of
the SOM’s flows concern matters of the heart, the community and the streets are
intact on tracks like “Fourmation,” “For Real Y’all,” “Lickity Split” and “Home
Game.” Prince Paul also knows how to lift the mood by sampling a version of “In
other Words (Fly Me to the Moon)” on the track “Poets” with; “Poets often use
many words to say a simple thing, it takes thought and time and rhyme, to make
a poem sing,” along with the Bedouin pop inspired La La La sample on “La La La.”

The closing “Outro” has
host Del announcing to the audience, “It’s time to close up shop, before the
fuzz comes to close us down.” At this point you marinate on what you have just
heard while the applause and smooth piano jazz ends the wild presentation of
SOM, you imagine the quartet taking bows for creating a massive album composed
from a multitude of lyrical flows and earnest hard wrought and earned experiential
credibility.

 
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