Souls of Mischief
with Strong Arm Steady, Deep Rooted
Souls of Mischief are definitely not strangers to our great city of salt. Not only do the Souls frequently perform here as a group but they also come through on solo tours and with their larger group Hieroglyphics—They are like family to the hip hop community here. They know many of the DJs and producers that reside in our city on a personal level. I caught up with them a few hours before the show at Sages Cafe. They were asking me when the ski and snowboarding seasons started and were pumped to be here. I love that people from California always so heavily enjoy our snow since all I can do is complain about it. After grabbing some to-go orders and heading back over to Urban, I was introduced to the rest of the groups on tour, Deep Rooted and Strong Arm Steady. I can say I was honestly pretty stoked on the whole line up considering I've never actually seen a poor performance come from anyone associated with Hieroglyphics.
A quick opening performance from a rapper named Philosophy set the mood with intense energy and fast lyrics. He only performed one song, which I thought was a little strange, but all in all did a really great job with it. A quick transition later Deep Rooted took the stage. They started out with a pretty bare dance floor in front of them. Mr. Brady's deep yet intense raps and Johaz’ super high energy and almost spastic flow and movements was all balanced out incredibly well with Brea's sultry vocals. I instantly fell in love with the earthly soulful vibe that she brought to the stage. DJ Artistic did a phenomenal job of adding through the roof energy and showing incredible passion in his performance. People instantly started to flock to the floor and get up right by the stage, dancing and feeding off of the music and energy of these four. They did a remix of Michael Jackson's “Billie Jean” called “Billie Jean’s Theme” and it was one of the most brilliantly reconstructed songs I have ever heard. All I could think was, “Fuck sake, that is so damn good!” They packed the floor by the end of their set, and handfuls of people were running over to the merch table to buy their album.
Strong Arm Steady was up next. They have a totally different style then Deep Rooted. They are raw and aggressive, like west coast gangster sounding hip hop. I was really excited for this group since I had never seen them live and since Krondon has one of my personal favorite voices in hip hop: It’s deep and mysterious and sexy as hell. He didn't let me down live. Every one of his lines flowed and bubbled effortlessly out of his mouth. He was working the crowd and instantly became the stand out in the group. Phil the Agony was a little overly tough for my taste, I don't think I ever saw him smile once on or off stage. MitchySlick is the most charismatic of the group and he got the ladies shaken while pumping lyrics like he was giving birth from his mouth. They balanced out well considering they all seemed to be very dominant artists and personalities.
Souls of Mischief only had three of the four members present—Tajai was absent at this performance. Opio, Aplus and Festo were accompanied by DJ Lex, on this strike. Right off the bat they got the audience nodding heads and throwing up their hands. I love when hip hop groups continue to build to a climax through the entire show. Its like they give you little by little of what you want while holding back the best staple songs till the end and then they blow you away. They played old and new songs, and promoted their newest release Montezumas Revenge which is produced by Prince Paul. I watched people in front mouthing every word of their newer songs and screaming at the mention of any weed innuendos. Its great to see the stoners get all hyped when their cause gets wholeheartedly supported. By the end of their set I was exhausted and sitting down bobbing my head in the back of the venue.
I was alone in the corner by the merch table and the crowd was smashed into the dance area by the stage as they ended the show with the classic song “93' Till Infinity.” This song is such a staple for this group that I wasn't surprised that the few people who weren't by the stage yet rushed over to jump in the crowd when it came on. Even all the older guys who talk about how they are the pioneers of SLC hip hop got stoked when that song played. It’s amusing for me to see people who talk about supporting the scene but never go to smaller shows all of a sudden crawl outta the woodwork for a group like Souls of Mischief. Just goes to show you how much of a ninfluence this group had back in the day and still have right now.
All in all, I was very much satisfied with the new groups I had seen for the first time, and with Souls. I have never seen a bad performance from any of these rappers. Even on a Sunday in Utah they will bring a crowd out and not let them down.
Souls of Mischief