Souls of Mischief – “’93 Til Infinity”

It’s pretty simple why Souls of Mischief called this track “’93 Til Infinity…”

So let’s take it back. In the early 1990s, Los Angeles was starting to challenge New York’s grip on the rap game, thanks to hard-hitting acts like N.W.A., Ice Cube, Ice-T, W.C. and many others. Gangsta rap was booming in the city while alternative, less crime-oriented artists like The Pharcyde, The Nonce, and Freestyle Fellowship were coming up as well. Los Angeles was blowing up but another scene was flourishing only a few hours north.

Souls of Mischief, the quartet of A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai hailed from Oakland, home to the mighty Hieroglyphics collective. Heiro, which also included Del The Funky Homosapien and Casual, took the lane the master pimp Too Short opened up in the ’80s and helped make the Bay Area a force in hip-hop, with a sound that was more laid back and elemental than their SoCal colleagues.

Souls came with a unique style, the four emcees passing blunts and mics and rapping over dusty, grubby beats with a lot of boom and their voices buried in the mix. Listening closely, the group was eclectic as hell on their ’93 debut, ’93 Til Infinity, with songs that didn’t shy away from street matters but also diving deep into socially conscious raps and more personal affairs. Souls could bang, but they’d rather just kick it, preferably in nature, I’m guessing.

With this song right here, the crew secured their spot in the Hip-Hop Pantheon. “’93 Til Infinity” is a perfect distillation of that other, other vibe Northern Cali’s on. Built on a phenomenal sample of Billy Cobham‘s 1974 burner, “Heather,” the song has the Mischief crew just chillin’, chasing women, getting record deals, and running shit without really trying while they enjoy their time in Yosemite (…If you watch the video. I wasn’t kidding about them kicking it in nature!). The song in its bag, and the crew goes at it like they’ve already taken the crown for the Left Coast’s best. Honestly, I can’t overstate how perfectly all the pieces of this listen comes together to create a timeless and effortlessly fun listen. There’s a reason why your favorite rapper has freestyled over this beat, and there’s a reason why they called this track “til infinity:” It’ll last forever.

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