August 16, 2017

Ras Kass - Soul On Ice (1996)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 1996 Priority Records
Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon for Rap Reviews.com
'Back to the Lab' entries can be inspired by damn near anything, but this one in particular goes out to the brother who sat next to me during "Star Wars Episode II." My chatty fiancee struck up a conversation with our seatmates to kill time and after she mentioned my websites for the third time he said to me, "So what's it all about?" By way of explanation I said, "I run a rap reviews site and a rap lyrics site." His girlfriend looked at me and said, "So you can go to the site and just look up ANYTHING?" I shrugged and said, "Yeah, it's all there: everything from Rakim to Redman and Ras Kass." Her man smiled at me, and looked back at her and said, "See? He said Ras Kass. Now that's a REAL rap head, somebody who says Ras Kass when you ask him about lyrics."
That got me thinking - after being a fan of one of the West coast's dopest rappers for six years plus, why have I never reviewed his inaugural album "Soul On Ice" on RapReviews.com? So here it is, the Ras Kass review I've been meaning to write for a long time and never did. If you're still wondering who I'm talking about, telling you to get a late pass would be meaningless. He is quintessentially a rapper's rapper, the kind of MC who lives for the opportunity to effortlessly spit flows both simple and complex, with layers of meaning both subtle and profound. Very few MC's in hip-hop could be said to be on his level, but if you had to name a few who could hang Pharoahe Monch and Aceyalone easily come to mind.
Ras Kass gets tremendous love from the "REAL rap heads" my fellow Mace Windu fan was talking about, but for some reason that has never translated into stellar record sales. Like many underground rappers before him, Kass gets caught in that eternal catch-22 of hip-hop: deliver fat rhymes over inferior beats and no one supports, but do a song with a fat beat and even SLIGHTLY commercial rhymes and be instantly labelled a crossover sellout. The critical rub for years then has been that "Soul On Ice" (yes, the album title was inspired by Eldridge Cleaver) flopped because the beats weren't all that.
Since I've been known to go out on a limb with my opinions though, I'm going to do it again and say THESE AREN'T WEAK BEATS. Ras Kass co-produced a lot of the album's best tracks, including the lead single "Anything Goes," with able assistance of producers like Lamont 'Bird' Holdby and Michael 'Flip' Barber. Additional dopeness is supplied by the West coast's finest beatsmiths, such as Vooodu on the hip-hop classics "Nature of the Threat" and "The Evil That Men Do" or Battlecat on the playalistic anthem "Marinatin'." That's not saying there aren't a few duds on this thirteen track album, but how many albums with ten plus songs don't have at least ONE? Tracks like "If/Then" that don't stand up musically still have something lesser rappers don't -- killer lyrics: ---- Full review here

tags: ras kass, soul on ice, 1996, flac,

3 comments:

  1. This is the best site of all time in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The link is dead. Can you fix it please?

    ReplyDelete