Souls Of Mischief & Adrian Young – There Is Only Now

21 years after there debut album 93 Til Infinity, Souls Of Mischief are back with their 6th album ,There Is Only Now. When they first hit the scene with their debut in 93 the Souls Of Mischief had a different vibe to most of their west coast counterparts. With the west coast gangster rap era in full swing, Souls Of Mischief had a fresh laid back west coast sound but with lyrics more like what was happening on the east coast. They did not pretend to be anyone but themselves, they told the stories of the streets without glorifying it.

There Is Only Now is a concept album with music from multi instrumentalist, producer and soundtrack composer Adrian Younge. It features Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest as the radio DJ/host with guest appearances from Busta Rhyme (as Womack) and Snoop Dogg. Throughout the album there is a narrative of a true story about a shooting in front of a club in 94 that the group was caught up in as bystanders. The album tells the story of characters Miriam, Stoney and Womack as well as the experience of the group. It’s light on catchy hooks and dense with story telling raps over a composition that sounds like a 70′s blaxploitation soundtrack.

The four MC’s A-Plus, Tajai, Opio and Phesto work together in a way that is rare and era when rappers generally go verse for verse and write independent of each other. They have managed to make a very ambitious album that works extremely well. The deluxe version of the album comes with the instrumentals which unlike most hip hop album instrumentals have enough nuances to make them very listenable.