Review Summary: A strong debut album from a well known battle rapper. Smooth Jazz and meaningful raps make a fun listen, time and time again.
First review, I'll try to break it up so you guys can skim through if you're not interested in reading.
Coming up from the underground, Soul Khan puts out a fantastic debut album. If you didn't know, Soul Khan got his starts with battle rapping. He appeared on Grindtime, King Of The Dot, and Smack, ripping up the mic and destroying most who came to face him. Often times, this unfortunately doesn't translate to a good album. This isn't the case with Soul Khan.
First, the beats he raps over. J57 produces most of the album, and he does a fantastic job of it. You never get the feeling that the beats are being held back from what they could be so that they don't overpower Khan's raps. The album has a smooth, jazzy feel to it. In this way, it sounds a little like Resurrection. The beats fit perfectly behind Khan, but they still didn't strike me as "perfect".
*** Beats Score: 4.5/5
Next: Soul Khan's raps. He has a voice that reminds me of Ol' Dirty Bastard in that it is sometimes ever so slightly uncontrolled. He spits with an obvious passion and commands the listener to pay attention to what he has to say. Spitting about everything from his home town on "Place That Birthed Me" to the game on "For That" to introspection on his life coming up on the title track, "Soul Like Khan".
Starting on the intro, Soul Khan builds himself up and ends the intro track, 6:30 am with a strong indicator towards the rest of the album
"I dedicate my resume to all my light sleepers
who stay awake and wonder where the future might lead us".
On "For That" he spits about himself, and how hip hop saved him.
Kept me afloat after the family collapsed
The panic attack
My father didn't plan to come back
But the boom-bap never let my sanity crack"
If any of the verses on the latest Waka Flocka album or the newest T-Pain single were half this deep, the rap game would be a better place. Soul Khan displays a true love of hip hop, and he really understands the roots and power of the genre.
The first single of the album, Fahrenheit starts with a simple piano loop and what seems to be a boy's choir. Even on such a minimalist beat, Soul does an excellent job of spitting and keeping his voice from being too overpowering. A nice hook from Akie Bermiss just helps keep things moving. Most of the track is easily traceable to his battle rap days, with clever lines like
"I ain't never been afraid of Global Warming
'Cause the same *** happens when Soul's performing."
The finish the album out, Soul looks back on his life. He spends a lot of time on his family, with reps for his mom, and she clearly had a powerful effect on him for him to spit like this:
"Can't forget the sweat of the woman that carried his [Khan's father] ass
She say he's great while he was still jobless
She gave us fate while he was still godless
She made mistakes but still remained modest
While he strayed, escaped while we was unconcious"
Soul finishes with a powerful reminiscence, and leaves the listener begging for more.
*** Raps score: 5/5
Fahrenheit Feat. Akie Bermiss
Soul Like Khan
With a strong freshman showing, Soul Khan leaves us hungry for more. The smooth beats and powerful raps leave a lasting impression from this charismatic rapper's first album.
*** Overall Score: 4.5/5