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Sole and the Skyrider Band

Hello Cruel World

Sole and the Skyrider Band
The third album recorded with the Skyrider Band (and his first since his break with Anticon, the label he helped found), Hello Cruel World is supposed to be Sole's most accessible work so far. His freewheeling, hyper-timed flow is replaced by a more deliberate rhythmic approach, sure, but this is still Sole. And as he raps on "D.I.Y.": "I don't rap like I'm in the museum of rap," so don't expect anything too traditional. But do expect Sole's usual social and political themes. The Skyrider Band's music is detailed and lush, with singing for the hook on about half the songs, a sound that could attract fans of dreamy pop and indie rock. Final number "Villon" even incorporates Auto-Tune, although it serves as atmosphere to the backing track, assisting the regular vocals rather than replacing them. Two other hook-based songs stand out as back-to-back highlights: "Bad Captain Swag" puts a glitchy, skittering synth beat to good use for a surprising collab with Lil B, which also features an airy, catchy hook from Pictureplane. While following track "We Will Not Be Moved" is a dark, epic song about integrity, with another good chorus from Ceschi (but more importantly, his nasal, sing-song chopping for the middle verse steals the show) and Noah 23 also impresses with a similar formula that mixes singing, traditional flows and rapid-fire raps. Spacey ballad "Formal Designation 134340" is a beautiful song about loneliness that almost skips any preconceptions about what is a rap song. While it's unlikely Hello Cruel World will reach far beyond Sole's current fan base, it should continue to impress those who are already fans, offering a slightly different perspective on the unorthodox MC. (Fake Four Inc.)
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