Souls Of Mischief

Souls Of Mischief

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of "93 'Til Infinity"
Performing the classic album in its entirety and more with a live band!

From the bowels of the bustling metropolis of Oakland, California, four artists emerge with the determination, skill and pure talent to change the face of Hip Hop. The four combine to form Souls of Mischief; a feisty band of microphone marauders and beat plunderers.

The Souls of Mischief have been honing their skills for nearly two decades in the Oakland area. They all hail from the same area in East Oakland and have attended school together since elementary; their lasting friendship strengthened by their mutual interest in music. Battling hosts of MC's from far and near, and gaining fame as stunning lyricists, these four young men; A-plus, Opio, Phesto and Tajai, along with their musical family, Hieroglyphics, have worked at their craft until it has become like a sharp-edged sword, cutting through boundaries of sound and style. "We started out trying to be definitely different, and most definitely better than the stuff that's out there" remarks the energetic, mad scientist-like Phesto.

Looking at their track record, the Souls have achieved these goals and are continuing down their path of excellence. Their first LP, 93 'Til Infinity (Jive, 1993) debuted at #14 on Billboard's R&B charts, placing at 109 in the top 200. Their second album, No Man's Land (Jive, 1995) came in at #27 on the R&B charts. Although both albums were received well by the Hip Hop community, neither achieved the type of success enjoyed by more mainstream acts. "We just want to make good music" says Tajai, "sales are important, but we aren't going to compromise our music's quality to sell." This attitude is central to the Souls' unique style and appeal.

Atypical of what has been dubbed the "West Coast Sound," the Souls' music, lyrical structure and content challenge the listener to actually LISTEN to what is being said and pay attention to the subtle nuances of beat and scratch which accent their lyrics. According to the smooth-flowing A-plus, "We're trying to present a broad spectrum and redefine what it is to be West Coast, and more importantly- Hip Hop in it's entirety." Straying from empty gangsterisms and other forms of negativity, these brothers try to constantly add to the quality and depth of Hip Hop. This is a very precarious position in a world where artists of a positive nature rarely reach critical acclaim, yet the Souls embrace the challenge. As a result, their work has been embraced by the Hip Hop community all over the globe. They have been billed with the best and brightest of the industry, including tours with A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Common Sense, The Alkaholiks, Pharcyde, The Roots, KRS-ONE, Wu-Tang Clan and others. They also brought their Hieroglyphic show, which includes Del the Funky Homosapien, Casual and the Prose to fans throughout the United States, Canada and Japan. This worldwide exposure has made their style one of the most loved and reproduced in Rap.

The Souls' lyrics and production can currently be heard on the Hieroglyphics debut LP, Third Eye Vision (Hiero Imperium, 1998) available through their own Hiero Imperium label. This project represents a new direction for the Souls, as they are able to team up with their Hieroglyphic brethren (Casual, Del, The Prose, Domino) and create more energetic rhythms and styles. As the first release on their own independent label, Third Eye Vision has enabled the Souls to have complete creative and marketing control over their own material. The Souls also have an independent album in circulation entitled Focus (Hiero Imperium, 1998) which has been making a lot of noise on the underground since its release in early 1998. At present, the group has just released a new album: Trilogy: Conflict, Climax, Resolution (Hiero Imperium, 2000) and is collaboratiing with the Pharcyde on a project tentatively titled Almyghty Myghty Python.
So what is it to be a "Soul of Mischief?" The name seems to imply a much darker, more nefarious group of characters than those described. "We make mischief on the microphone--we came to wreak havoc on the mic," Opio chimes in. It seems that somewhere in their essence, at the base of their psyche, there is a nagging voice which keeps telling these young men to break the standards. By taking lyricism into realms uncharted, and even into some areas which would be better left alone, they express this mischievous soul and break ground in the Hip Hop industry. Their courage and determination to challenge the status quo of rap make them innovators in this field of imitators.

Adam Traore, aka A-1, might be the next S.F. rapper poised for wider success. The first-generation U.S. citizen, son of parents from West Africa and Italy, A-1 treads a fine line between what would've once been considered conscious rap — giving lip-service to positivity and self-awareness — with party-ready anthems about girls and weed. The Thurl Tape, his release from last fall, mixes zeitgeist-y beats and production with guest spots from Roach Gigz, Little Dragon, and Dregs One. But Traore's agile rhymes and likable, disarming persona keep the spotlight firmly planted on him throughout.

When he wasn't watching Yo MTV Raps or Pump It up, Scarub, like many other L.A. hip-hop heads, grew up listening to the all hip-hop radio station, KDAY. It was during these early years that Scarub first gave himself the name Quaz (The kid who did), and later Mudd Foot, before settling on Scarub as his mc moniker. Scarub first hit the stage during an 8th grade talent show and he hasn't looked back since. As a student at L.A.'s Hamilton High, Scarub hooked up with fellow students Eligh and Murs and the trio formed the 3 Meloncholy Gypsy's or 3MG. Scarub like the rest of 3MG eventually made the move up to the bay area where he hooked up with Mystik Journeymen and was put down with the Living Legends crew.

The Living Legends crew is a family of independent hip-hop creators. From primary earth bases in Los Angeles and Oakland, the Legends extend worldwide and beyond.

It all started with BFAP (now known as Sunspot Jonz) and PSC (Luckyiam), who laid claim to the name of Mystik Journeymen in the early 1990s. By '94 they were locally legendary for throwing Underground Survivors shows, houseparty style at their loft - 4001 San Leandro Street in East Oakland. That's where the Grouch hooked up with the Journeymen in 1995, just before they took off on their renowned first European tour.

Around the same time in the southern part of the state, Mid-city Los Angeles to be exact, 3 Melancholy Gypsys (Murs, Scarub & Eligh) were part of the almost mythic Log Cabin crew going back to 1993. Log Cabin later broke up and the Gypsys wandered separately. As it turned out, the 3 would cross paths again in the Bay Area and became Living Legends.

Aesop came to Oakland from Fresno, Arata from Osaka, and Bicasso from various points, East, West and elsewhere...

In 1999 the Legends shifted their center of gravity to Los Angeles, but their presence has definitely not diminished in Oakland and the Bay. You know it makes no difference where they stay because the universe revolves around them anyway. Over the years, the Journeymen and the Legends have rocked Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada numerous times, plus they've toured the USA, north and south, east coast, west coast and beyond ...

In the years since the Legends have continued releasing solo and crew projects and now have a catalog of over 50 full-length albums and numerous singles. All in all, this crew of motivated do-it-yourselfers has sold over 200,000 albums collectively. The latest crew album "Creative Differences" has turned in to their best selling album to date, (with Soundscan numbers just under 23,000 so far) and continues to sell. Other recent releases are from CMA (Grouch & Luckyiam), Scarub, and Sunspot Jonz. New projects by Eligh, 3MG, Bicasso and Aesop are expected in 2005. March 8, 2005, will see the release of the Legends highly anticipated new album "Classic," a project the crew got together to record earlier this year. That was the first time in recent memory all 8 members were together with the purpose of recording a new project and what came out of those sessions is definitely their strongest material yet. Expect to see them spring 2005 coming to a city near you on tour promoting the new project. The group has no plans to let up, they're only turning up the fire, see if you can keep up. Legends Baby!!!!

$10.00 - $15.00


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