Who will save Rap’s soul…
The struggle to take Hip-Hop back from the powers that bling has found a new champion. The Souls of Rap Folks, based out of San Francisco, California, aim to bring the music back to what it once was; feel good, socially conscious music that people from all walks of life can relate to. With dope emcees, great tracks, and a strong message, the group channels the “Golden Age of Hip-Hop”, making the listener feel good about what they’re hearing, while teaching them something along the way
At the root of the Souls of Rap Folks, a dogged determination to put out music that sounds great, and means something. Critical Akklaim (Dorian Johnson) and Sin (Arsenio Ogilvie) bring to the table undeniable talent, strong production, and the ability to entertain and educate the listener.
The Souls of Rap Folks are taking up the mantle and joining the fight to restore Hip-Hop to it’s former glory; promoting the importance of community activism, social consciousness, and economic development with soul stirring sounds.
Arriving in the Bay Area ten years ago as part of another Hip-Hop/soul group, Critical has seen the ins and outs of the game, and has become a Professor Xavier-like figure to those working with and around him.
After his group disbanded, he continued to make music and to build a stronger community through his work in the non-profit arena. One of these, The DJ Project, a Hip-Hop education program where young people can come in to create music and express themselves helped to form the group as it exists today.
Sin, a Bay Area native who attended The DJ Project, came to the project as a talented producer and artist in his own right. He was ready to pursue making music, and both artists had grown tired of the mainstream, soul-less muzak that had been dominating the scene. They decided to form the group in response to what they felt was the destruction of the soul of Hip-Hop, and work daily to preserve the craft they hold so dear.
Both artists consider themselves guardians of the craft, and what they want, according to Sin, is to bring about a much needed “change of artists that fans can look at as representatives of the culture, rather than pimps of the game.” When the two partnered to start to engineer this change, they created music that is “a combination of passion, soul, and the history of being black in America, creating music that is more in line with the culture of Hip-Hop than the limitations placed on rap music by major labels.”
With their first release, “And This Too Shall Pass”, The Souls of Rap Folks start with a rousing call to action, a remake of the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice.” Dedicated to today’s Hip-Hop fans and musicians, challenges them to reclaim Hip-Hop and make it something that we can all once again be proud of. What follows is a musical odyssey that leads the listener back to what the industry has been clamoring for, a return to real, thought provoking Hip-Hop that sounds great and leaves the listener with something to think about.
“And This Too Shall Pass” features an extremely talented group of unsigned artists, who embody what the spirit of The Souls of Rap Folks is all about. Vash, Gavin, Karma, Isa, Joe Esquire and Tecun are a diverse group of collaborators, representing various locales and cultures both inside and out of California. They come together on this project as artists and activists, working to change the music and their communities for the better.
With tracks like “Take it Back,” “The Wisdom,” and “Do You Write,” The Souls of Rap Folks and their many talented guests edutain the listener, and create an experience that is not likely to be forgotten.
The Souls of Rap Folks have been appearing around the Bay Area at various festivals with Gavin and Joe Esquire, bringing to the stage a Hip-Hop carnival atmosphere with a variety of emcees, DJ’s, dancers, singers and musicians performing tracks off of the EP; and proving to all who are within earshot, that if Hip-Hop is dead, then its soul has been resurrected.