By Alex P80 Parks
Switzerland’s The SoulSlicers, bring us a 26 track album full of hard-hitting boom bap HipHop titled Black Album. It’s interesting how many European producers have assumed a responsibility in maintaining the boom bap production of the “golden eras” sound. They almost always utilize excellent drums with plenty of punch and bass. Their samples are always minimal. And they employ grimy emcees to spit the raw NY/East coast style rap that we know from the mid 90’s to the early 00’s. The SoulSlicers are no exception. The Swiss production team have crafted an album full of these types of beats. They’ve selected a cast of mostly newer and some lesser-known emcees with some underground veterans popping up to bolster the firepower on this large LP.
The lead-off track is appropriately a banger. “We On” feat G.Dot and Born w/ cuts by DJ Tray. Boston’s G.Dot and Born provide some lyrical heat as the SoulSlicers lay an ominous organ and some subtle guitar effects with crisp hi-hats that resonate perfect. Both G.Dot and Born come correct with a mercenary approach to the mic.
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Late Homework M-dot brings it on this track. It’s a kick in the face to those who ever doubted the talent and promise of hopeful youth. Some dope cuts provided by famed Boston producer DJ 7L.
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“Pros and Cons” feat Revelation is a booming track with a slide guitar and a soulful vocal sample. DJ Decepta adds some dope slices to this joint. Revelation spits some hard and gritty rhymes over this banger.
“Ms. Merry Jane” feat Mesidge is a sped up vocal sample with some 80’s style synths. Mesidge describes his affinity for the green here. Some dope cuts provided by DJ LP2.
On “Real Visions” a somber piano accompanies the simple drums on this track for Absouljah to break down his thoughts.
“Breadcrumbs” feat Chad L is a quick track with an acoustic guitar loop, which creates a similar sound to the closing track “The End” feat Meta P.
“Dream so Mean” feat El Lay, Dre Goose and Sparkingtin is a chopped piano sample with snappy snares and some boom, with slices courtesy of DJ Tray.
On “Money” Ricky Bats delivers his powerful vocals over a piano loop with some serious boom. Ricky shows off that solid delivery with some strong bars as well here. The track is simple, which plays well against his commanding voice.
“Live backwards” feat The Savage Brothers is a strong sample and a perfect snare bass drum combo. One of the standout tracks on the LP, both emcees come grimy and spit the raw East coast rhymes to accompany the well balanced track.
“Never going broke” Sparkingtin and D.Gotti rhyme over a sample of traditional Italian music.
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“Road Trip” feat MDot is an uptempo track with chopped horns, a slight piano loop and drum fills aplenty. MDot comes firing off his usual brand of high energy rap and spits some clever bars. One of Boston’s illest, MDot shows up on a few joints on this LP, never disappointing lyrically.
“We MC’s” feat Gdot and Born with cuts by DJ Tray is a fast-paced track with an 80’s style guitar sample. Both emcees tear through the track with fury. Another pair of emcees who show up to collaborate more than once with the SoulSlicers, they contribute some dope vocals and their own unique sound that still fits in with the overall style.
“Get finished” feat Sparkingtin and D.Gotti uses a guitar sample, claps and hi-hats on one of the better tracks off the album. Both emcees flex their lyrical skills on this dope track.
“The circus” feat Chad L sounds like a distorted or reversed sample trying to mimic the carnival or circus music from the old days. Chad L explains and exposes the fraudulent lifestyle for many of those in the spotlight, meanwhile maintaining his pride in his own independence.
“Patriots” feat Big Shug, Edo G, Mayhem and MDot. This track obviously supplies some of the bigger star-power on the album. MDot laces the track first with his well-delivered flow an unforgettable voice. He’s followed by Edo G and Mayhem. Big Shug contributes the hook, with some refreshing harmony for a dope posse cut with a throwback feel. Serious cuts provided by DJ LP2.
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“Cypher” feat Sparkingtin, Tank, El Lay, Scientific, For Da Block, and Dre Goose. Another posse cut, this one plays like a sped-up Mobb Deep beat from the late 90’s. The emcees all come raw and play well off one another.
“Routine” feat Unik Stylez has some chopped up Japanese flutes, playing in a rhythmic fashion which pairs well with their usually-solid drums. There are some ill scratches from DJ Mirage on this hyper track, with Unik Stylez showing his dope flow.
“Hungry Soul” feat Kore the SoulSlicers use those Baroque classical-esque orchestral sounds here that we’re popular in HipHop from mid to late 90’s. Again, it fits into the few styles that adhere perfectly to the sound that the Soulslicers hold the torch for.
“Light a Candle” feat Absouljah features chopped pianos and an Asian vocal sample. You could easily hear any 90’s era NY emcee rapping over these types of beats. Absouljah
“Poetry Vox” feat Good WTHR uses a really beautiful sample and aptly laid drums with Good WTHR spitting his refreshing lyrics and unique vocals. Another standout track on this album.
“Sunshine in your stereo” feat Good WTHR sports perhaps the only true modern HipHop beat off the album. The rhymes are played well off the quick tick tick of the hi-hats. Not necessarily trap-ish, but the beat is most certainly fitting with more modern production than the other sample- based beats on the album.
2 of the last 3 tracks on the album are remixes with some top guest spots. “Chances and Change remix” feat MDot, Skyzoo and Revelation w/ cuts by DJ Decepta and “I sold my Soul remix” feat Planetary, MDot and Banish w/ scratches by DJ Tray.
One consistent across the album is the solid drums. This production duo brings back that 90’s era thump on every track. A prominent element throughout the LP is the strong DJ presence and dope scratching on just about every joint. That is well-received by the older HipHop heads and traditionalists of the east coast sound. The SoulSlicers know the importance of the DJ in HipHop and they represent that well in their production.
The album isn’t ambitious, overly grand in scale (despite 24 cuts) or attempting to reinvent any style of HipHop. What it does is adhere to the aforementioned style and deliver within that lane, an album that maintains the integrity of that style of HipHop that has created such fond nostalgia amongst fans of the genre.
This is a solid album, especially if you have that nostalgia for east-coast late 90’s boom bap style minimal production. The emcees all hold their own. The production stays true and shows the SoulSlicers as traditionalists and keepers of the flame of that style. This album is best listened to in the jeep with big speakers turned up.
Cop the album out Friday here: