Souls Of Mischief – Montezuma’s Revenge (Album Review)

montezuma's revenge


Souls of Mischief are back with an incandescent bluster. Montezuma’s Revenge, released on Hiero and produced by sizzling mighty Prince Paul (De La Soul, Stetsasonic, Tha Gravediggas) – with cover art work by artist Steven Lopez – is shaking Hip Hop continents, from Oakland to Africa and back again.

Nine years on from their last album (Trilogy) the brazen mark of their attainment is clear: phenomenal lyrical delivery, breath-taking syncopated confidence, wonder-working rhythms and commanding Hip Hop story telling presence.  Souls of Mischief are more than confirming their skill and control.   A-Plus, Opio, Phesto and Tajai exchange, capture and hand over each other flow and rhymes as if they had attained telepathy, giving all the more strength to the range of instrumentals and bumping drum lines that bounce this album.

With an “Intro” and “Outro” that jazz you in and out of the Revenge to come, opening title “One” slams the tone of this LP’s intention: the timeless, impeccably-produced return of Souls of Mischief .

With “Postal”, “Tour Stories” and “Lickety Split”, the experience they verse gets personal, dealing with relationships and the nomadic life of tours.  “Poets” and its skit humorously wink at writers’ block, while “Morgan Freeman” (hilarious, impersonated by Prince Paul) double-winks the audacious “No! Stop doing that old school shit, son!” with Tajai replying, undeterred, “Man I have to represent the essence… Turn that beat back on man”.

The strong vocal characters of these famous four emcees and their multisyllabic rhyme-fest effuse in the game of all titles.  “Fourmation”’s bpabpa bpabpap pulse, the interlocking spit and metrical structure of “For Real Y’All”, and their unleashed chemistry in “Proper Aim”, “You Got It” and “Hiero HQ” amply witness that what SoM have carved, they now polish with starring ease.   The Arabo-Spanish “La La La” finishes the take-off of 18 tracks that leave you well-quenched and jiggered, yet knowing that from this altitude they can still reach even more vertiginous Hip Hop heights.

“’Til Infinity” might have been an understatement, Souls of Mischief are more than likely heading full shell into immortality.

–Nadia Ghanem

Montezuma’s Revenge is out now on Heiro Records (iTunes) and as a physical release in the UK on February 8th.

WATCH: Souls Of Mischief debate Soulja Boy, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne’s contributions to Hip Hop – and how to identify the Top 10 Greatest Of All Time (SoulCulture:TV)