Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
on 1 March 2008
I hate to be the sole dissenting face in the crowd, but Souls of Mischief have never excited me like, say, Lords of the Underground or The Pharcyde do. Same style, pretty much; throw down jazzy samples over some breaks, then get a crew together in the studio to fight it out for who gets the next verse in. It's an explosive way to make an album, for sure, and I wonder why so many groups today are reluctant to explore it further. It would still work. Hell, it always will. The trouble with this particular chapter in the crazy world of early '90s rap is that no member of this Hiero project (bar Del, who shows up later on in the album) does enough to truly make a name for themselves; they're totally interchangeable, although they sound great doing it.
Track picks? "Yo, I find it fun to smash emcees into fine bits" is the hungriest this album ever gets, so that gives "That's When Ya Lost" an immediate advantage. The title track will forever (`til infinity, if you will) make it on to any hip hop mixtape I construct; it's just a completely chilled celebration of hip hop, dissing crews and, essentially, the track itself. Oh man, the synth work sounds like it belongs on a Boards of Canada record! The fun lovin' violence of "Batting Practice" over looping brass is also a perennial favourite, although that's practically an automatic pick. S'all good though, I can't complain. There's no bad verses, no wack beats and no weak moments. There's just a nagging sense that, while I'm jamming this disk every once in a while, I should be digging deeper in the genre. Thousands of buried records remain to be discovered, the cream of which will surely combine the best bits of this with passion, lyrical fireworks and a bit more chaos.
If you want to label this as one of rap's all time high points, that's cool; I have no problem with that. Essentially, 93 `til Infinity is a fully competent excursion through my absolute favourite style of music that never ventures below "good". It's just been done better, I feel.