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With acts such as Digital Underground, The Pharcyde and The Luniz as some of their most well-known acts, Oakland is known for bringing alternative Hip Hop to the world, and this came once again as the Hieroglyphics Crew's Souls Of Mischief broke out with their 1993 debut album "93 'til Infinity". The group consist of the four MCs A-Plus, Opio, Phesto D, and Tajai. On this particular album, aside from some of its won members, you get production from Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Domino too.
1. "Let 'Em Know"
To kick off the album you have them going for one which has them just hyping things up as you find them pulling out all they have to get you in the mood for their mood. This one pretty much sums out what is expected of them, with all areas covered in this for the rest of the tracks.
2. "Live And Let Live"
As we get into this thing properly you are met with one of many tunes which are produced by Domino. Here, you find him providing some jazzy beats to the thing as the group come to do some rhymes influenced from the West Coast Gangsta lifestyle, but as they are obviously disconnected from this, this comes through in the way they comment on it.
3. "That's When Ya Lost"
This one has them stepping things up as you hear them on top of production which is very bassy and seems to change the way things are done on this as they are made to adapt the way they flow to the grittier way that this one is constructed. This one has lots going on in it, and I'm sure you would enjoy it find you ar into the work from other Oakland MCs from around this time.
4. "A Name I Call Myself"
On top of some heavy beats which seemingly take from classic breaks which this genre is based on, you find yourself placed into a am which has them flow with great complexity in order to show exactly why they are so different to all the others you find out there. It gets you moving with them as they do things in a distinctive Oak-Town style.
There is an audible change in the way that this one is composed, in comparison to the rest as you find that as Jay Biz joins Domino on the beats, sample-rich work being implemented into the thing makes it even more exciting than what you typically expect to fin in their work, and it gives it an added boost as you get more of their fresh rhymes in this one.
6. "What A Way To Go Out"
The opening lines to this one indicate how they differ from the others out there as you find out that they would love to be involved in the Gangsta lifestyle which they see around them, but know that this just isn't something for them as they are quickly phased by the sounds of gunshots or even the thought of the initiation process.
7. "Never No More"
You find this one being lead by the trumpeting of Bill Ortiz, and as this is something which was a key feature of their big single from this, I'm sure that many will be excited by it as it acts as a tune to warm you up before they drop it on you. It is a big one, and they make the most of what is given to them again.
8. "93 'til Infinity"
This, the eponymous track which they kicked their career off with is also probably their most well-known tune, as it has them just chilling from "93 'til Infinity" and the mod of the music works in a similar way with the soothing Jazz sample driving the tune as the group inspire you with their gentles flow and originality, which seems to take from that of The Pharcyde and Digital Underground (but to a lesser degree).
This is clearly one of the better ones on the album, and as it begins, you quickly notice that it is clearly a better one than what else you find on this album with so many sounding as if they are on the same level, this one goes above it, and gives the thing an added lift to really get you excited with a tune which has them comment on how they have seen the Hip Hop game develop.
10. "Anything Can Happen"
As you have to take the context into consideration when listneing to this album, the fact that the Hip Hop game was domianted by the Gangsta Rap of the West coast meant that it would trickel into stuff such as this, here you find that they tell one of those Gangsta tales from an alternative angel to what was beign heard in the music of Domino, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre at the time.
11. "Make Your Mind Up"
You find Del tha Funkee Homosapien with the beats on this one, and I thought that it translated into a banger of a jam from them as you get some weak breakbeat which gives just the type of percussion which supports the way the groups flows, as the heavier beats are completely unlike the gentle way they ride the compositions. I felt that as the producer was able to find exactly what works for them is why it is such a big one.
12. "Batting Practice"
I wasn't really that sure about what was meant about the majority of this one, and I believe that this was key in holding me back as I heard it as although I noticed hints of killer-ness in it with some big lines found within it, overall this one has them do lots of things which have basically been heard throughout the album so many times before.
13. "Tell Me Who Profits"
On the final proper track, before all the shout-out you find them with more sampling, and this time you hear it in the form of a gentle piano loop which drives this tune, and I felt that it gave it something meaningful to really like about it as the thing comes to and end and they come with some rhymes which deal with big issues which many may have overlooked.
I would have to say that although this was clearly an original album from them, and something which went against trends, they didn't really nail it as they performed it as at times I felt as though it was a bit too repetitive with the type of things which you hear in both the rhymes and the beats. I can accept that it is some complex lyricism, but it was all rather intense, and they never give you a chance to chill (aside from the eponymous single).
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Let 'em Know
2 Live And Let Live
3 That's When Ya Lost
4 Name I Call Myself
6 What A Way To Go Out
7 Never No More
8 93 Til Infinity
10 Anything Can Happen
11 Make Your Mind Up
12 Batting Practice
13 Tell Me Who Profit