It will be hard to listen to the new Souls of Mischief album, Montezuma’s Revenge (due out on Tuesday), without letting nostalgia cloud my vision. There was a time, in the mid 90s, when the Hieroglyphics site ruled my Internet habits. Mostly, I visited the Hiero Hoopla forum, eager to swap dubbed cassettes of unreleased tracks, freestyles and such (many of which I still have). Basically, it was my introduction to social networking before we knew what social networking was.
That said, I’m a Hiero fanboy at heart. And Souls of Mischief’s classic 93 ‘Til Infinity was my introduction to the crew. It was their blessing and curse to set the bar so high on their debut (see also, Nas) – no subsequent release has matched the vibrance and relevance of 93 ‘Til Infinity.
That brings up Montezuma’s Revenge, the group’s first album in almost 10 years and produced entirely by the inimitable Prince Paul (cool of Souls to include him on the cover art). Fifteen years ago, this pairing would have sent me in a tizzy and, deep down, I’m pretty excited about the potential. But my expectations are a little more realistic, a little more grounded. I like to allow myself to be pleasantly surprised, and Proper Aim – the first single off the new album – is doing that. Prince Paul drops a bass hook over a minimalist beat and pretty much gets out of the way to let Souls carry the show. I’m not ready to say this is the best thing they’ve done since 93 ‘Til Infinity, but I’m not willing to write it off either.