Published Jan 11, 2010It's pretty hard to call the nine years since the world last saw an official Souls of Mischief record a hiatus for the group, given the myriad solo projects and Hieroglyphics collaboration releases over the past decade. Still, it's a long time between albums for a group of men constantly at work together, and it seems fans may have a brainstorm from long-time fan Prince Paul to thank for their "reunion." On new disc Montezuma's Revenge, the legendary producer handcrafts a slew of straightforward beats designed to get the four-man tag team back to basics, and the seasoned mic men don't miss a step. The lean guitar riff of "Won1" leads the opening assault, as the crew swap some of the hardest lyrical barbs on the record, a stance maintained on the chippy "Heiro HQ" and the pounding of "For Real Y'all." Lyrics take a more focused and thematic turn on the storytelling "You Got It," while the boys take time out for the nagging ladies of the world on both "Postal" and "Lickity Split." Through it all, their storied beatsmith keeps things efficient, and with cuts like the dirty, Middle Eastern-tinged bonus offering, "LaLaLa," Paul proves he can still hold his own after these many years.
This record was first announced a few years back. Why did it take so long to finish?
Tajai: We've been working on this record since '06, and this idea [actually] came about in late '05, during the second Handsome Boy Modeling School tour. So, it's just taken a while to do. We're not on that microwave tip, and our real close fans understand that, but you got a lot of kids coming up who may know us from 3rd Eye Vision or Full Circle, or they may know us from "If You Must" off of the Tony Hawk [videogame], you know? They're used to getting their music a different way, and they want that rapid, rapid, rapid. Man, we don't do it like that!
What made you and Prince Paul decide to come together for this album?
Opio: I was on the Handsome Boy Modeling School tour trying to promote my first solo record, Triangulation Station. I've known [Paul] for years, and he just kinda approached me and was like, "I've been a fan of Souls of Mischief for a long time, and I've always wanted to work with y'all." And it wasn't like he was just a fan of '93 Til Infinity; he knew the solo records, and followed all the Heiro projects, and he really knew a lot about what we were doing and how to work with us. He kept reminding me and wouldn't let it die, so I brought it back to the fellas and obviously they were immediately like, "hell yeah!" It wasn't like it was hard [to convince them] or nothin', but he was really [the] genesis of it. (Souls Of Mischief)