Monday, November 14, 2005


Artist / Band: SOLE
Album: live from rome
File Under: Hip Hop
Label: Anticon
Info: sole was hatched the year Elvis overdosed—1977—in the far northeastern city of Portland, Maine. He recorded his first demo in 1992, which featured such unhits as “Cops Ain’t Shit,” whose first lines snarled, “I’m still pissed about Rodney,/ yeah, pissed is what they got me.” For reasons he chooses not to recall, he shopped the demo to Entertainment Resources International, the management company responsible for Da Brat, Kris Kross and Xscape. There was serious initial interest in what may have been the first great white kiddie rapper, and they flew him to Florida to record a few songs. When sole idealistically insisted on DJ Premier beats and they could offer him but Jermaine Dupri remixes, however, the deal gracefully fell through. Soon after, at 15, sole regrouped and with a new crew—45 Below Records, which included anticonian alias—and a new DJ—Cuz the Highlander, who in later years emerged as a rare record guru and occasional producer (under the name Moodswing9) in the Bay Area—and released an album under the name Northern Exposure. That album, Mad Skillz and Unpaid Billz, was a mishmash of early 90’s hip-hop like Lord Finesse and Black Moon and sold upwards of 300 copies. A year later, fresh from this unsuccess and flush with savings from his after-school job at McDonalds, sole pressed up his first 12” and freely gave it away at the 1995 Gavin Convention to little effect. 1996 brought another sole group, Live Poets, and a new album, “What’s It All About?” While unmistakably beholden to classic East Coast rap, the album began to exhibit the considerable influence experimental and underground Los Angeles rap, circulated through long distance trading of hissy tapes. The rhyme schemes showed cracks and surprising fissures, and the lyric content veered wildly between the battle raps on which sole had been nourished and a more original strain of poeticized language delivered with compressed emotional force. One song in particular, “Think Twice,” with its jangly setting, loosened song structure, and lyrics in which sole’s personal conflicts and ambivalences took center stage, was sole as the sole he would soon become. read more from the source...

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