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 It’s a sad state of affairs when your favorite hip-hop artists begin their travels on the downward spiral. It happens to almost everyone at some point, usually following a slew of classic releases, just look at the drop in popularity of acts like Ice Cube or Public Enemy. And let’s not forget Big Daddy - we’ve seen the same thing happen to Kane.

But, all in all, we have to admire each of these artists tenacity, as they continue to try and reinvent themselves, hoping today’s younger generation will recognize – Souls of Mischief included. SOM started their road to infinity in ’93, with their classic debut album, yet things fell short with the crew’s second release, No Man’s Land. Two years later, the underground LP Focus was released, which duets and solo tracks from each member,, yet also was poorly received. Looking to shove that release under the carpet, Opio, Phesto, Tajai and A-Plus now deliver their official third album, Trilogy.

Sadly, Trilogy is largely uninspiring, almost arriving two years too late. While not trying to cling to its past works and also seeking reinvention, the truth of the matter is that the audience still worships 93 Til’, and that’s what they want. Due to stricter sampling laws, it’s unlikely that Souls will return to that raw producto style, as keyboard beats have taken over. Domino still remains on point, just as he proved on the Hieroglyphics family album, lacing up “The Interrogation” nicely, while Norway’s Tommy Tee lends a nice beat to the title track. While mostly self produced, it holds itself together pretty well on the previously released singles “Medication” and “Airborne Rangers”, but the more experimental things get, the more questionable the outcome. The bouncy “Last Night” is kind of fun, but may throw some listeners for a curve ball. “Mama Know’s Best” (w/ George Clinton) somehow lacks the funk that it should come equipped with, while the majority of the other tracks, such as “4th Floor Freaks” and “Fucked..”, fade into monotony, trying some newer styles, failing to capture the listener’s attention.

Besides lacking the production styles of ’93, the hunger is also absent. The furious battle rhymes and attitude of the barely legal, starving Souls Of Mischief are nowhere to be found on this album. In no way are they wack, but their flows are no longer ahead of their time as they once were.

With overall sour responses to Del’s recent releases, the question remains if Hiero’s time has come. This fan believes that the entire crew still has plenty of dope juice left in them - it just has to be harnessed right. Perhaps returning to their roots is the key??
 

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