I saw that you guys performed with Ab-Soul at the Family Affair concert. What are your guys’ opinion on the state of rappers repping the West Coast?


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Phesto: It’s grown like all other aspects of Hip-Hop. Now since we’ve kind of opened the door for non-Gangster in California, you look at the Dom Kennedy’s and Kendrick’s and all that kind of stuff. It’s not just the Tiger style. It’s a larger lane now. It aint’ no different than from before. I wouldn’t say it’s different from when we came out except the world is now accepting more genres from California.

The first time I heard you guys, I remember saying that it was a crazy dope mix of Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan. You had the throwback Jazz beats but vicious lyricism. How did that style come about?

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Opio: We were certainly influenced by the Native Tongues, Gang Starr, and Lord Finesse. Just the whole sample based thing was what was going on in the industry. We just like those kind of beats. As far as how we rapped, we were on our own thing. We were trying to show that there’s something else out there. Remember, at the time when we came out, it was like a gold rush in California by the industry for gangster rap artists. And as a result, that’s all you saw come out. Our style is more cerebral. We like vocabulary and different words that other people didn’t use.

Do you guys think artists nowadays are trying too hard to imitate their favorite rappers? Or has that always been an issue?

Phesto: Yeah, but there’s negative pressure from the industry to do that as well. Nobody gets signed for being original. We got signed because of a guy, Spec and the Native Tongues. A&R’s are running around looking for the next big thing that sounds like the previous big thing. Tribe Called Quest got signed because of De La. De La got signed because of Jungle Brothers. Before it was different, a long time ago, with Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons throwing parties.

What’s each of your guys’ favorite track on 93 ’til Infinity?

Opio: “Make Your Mind Up” – Produced by Del. The beat was floating around for a while and I always had a strong appreciation for the beat itself. We finally had a chance to rock it on the record and I feel like everybody stepped up to the plate and had some of their dopest rhymes. That sample is so buttery and these crazy water sounds. It’s a crazy sound to trip off if your high. That’s my favorite verse that I kicked on that album.

Phesto: “That’s When Ya Lost” – That song was my first single but it introduced us to the world as the Souls of Mischief. I just really liked that drum break, that Biz Markie break. It makes you want to rhyme over it-the horns and the basslines. It really exemplified what we were about at the time.

Tajai: “Let Em Know” – I remember we wanted that song first. I like how it has two samples. That’s a hard question.

A-Plus: “93 Til Infinity” – I’m partially biased because I made that beat. It’s the song we’ll be known for the most. I’m hella proud because of the positive effect it’s had on the world, across generation to generation. That’s one of my favorite songs in the world.

Will there be a new release from the Almyghty Myghty Pythons (Souls of Mischief + Pharcyde) that fans can expect?

A-Plus: (laughs) We’ll see what the future holds.

Phesto: The music is dope. We just need to let it age and put it in an oak barrel. We let it age to bring out the character.

How did you guys even come up with that name?

Tajai: It just sounded like a really raw a$$ little league team like bad news bears.

So what about new music from just the Souls of Mischief?

Phesto: New record coming out next year. We have a title for it but we don’t want to give up the gold just yet.

artistphoto_soulsofmischief

The Souls of Mischief are currently on tour so check out if they’re coming to a city near you here. Catch them tonight (7/3/13) at S.O.B.’s tonight with Mick Boogie by buying tickets here.

Bryan Hahn (@notupstate)

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