Review Summary: A solid album throughout, this album continues Souls of Mischief’s legacy while comfortably adding new members and not venturing too far from the sound that made them stars. It could be fatal!
Due to too much talent already circulating and competitition with Compton and Long Beach, in Oakland, it was tough to break out in the early 90’s. Spice 1 had the gangsta rap angle held down, E-40 added a bit more funk and style to it, Too $hort wrote the book on pimp rap and it seemed like there wasn’t much to rap about anymore, even MC Hammer had pop rap on lock. Yet in ‘93 (to infinity), 4 teenagers with hardened battle rap skills dropped a classic. Ignoring what would make them popular at the time, The Souls of Mischief rapped about what they liked: women, weed, and the occasional bout of violence. To add to that, the four were also producers and pioneered west coast alternative hip hop by switching sounds mid song and not sticking to a formula. People would later discover that they were members of a rap clique called the Hieroglyphics, which included Del the Funkee Homosapien. Consider this album the part 2.
Hip Hop purists, their subject matter changed slightly from weed and girls to pure skills, but not all the way. A-Plus went from tossing skins like a frisbee to buying his mom some land and spreading positivity instead of pointless violence, for example. Although the album might seem long, it really isn’t and flows well, starting off with “You Never Knew” and ending with “Miles to the Sun.” In the middle we are given several solo produced 1 minute lyrical displays from a handful of the members and straight bangers like “Dune Methane” and “Oakland Blackouts.” It’s a great album if you like rap that’s easy to swallow and doesn’t lack in substance.
The first time I heard this album I spent a long time deciding who was my favorite member to no avail, but 3rd Eye Vision is a must-listen for alternative rap fans and a must buy for Bay Area rap fans.