Stace Prints Soulivar

Back in the mid-’90s, Stace Prints and That Bastard Jeff were staking their ground in Vancouver hip-hop as Bassic Instincts, but after their break-up things remained pretty quiet from this duo. Over the last couple of years, Stace Prints has been making more and more guest appearances, including some nice ones with Birdapres. Soulivar, his solo debut, is a slick little five-song EP that highlights Stace’s old-school-influenced flow over some tight productions. Although all five songs are more than good, it’s Stace’s minimal, self-produced "Tomato Cigarettes” that stands out from the pack. Countrified acoustic guitar merges with a hard drum loop for the soundtrack to Stace’s story of unrequited love — and a popular Biz Markie sample certainly doesn’t hurt. Album opener "Property Tax” is a one-verse proclamation of his return and claims his territory with an apt sample from The Warriors. "Soulivar,” produced by Facavelli, is an anthemic track filled with strings, while "Stretch,” another Stace-produced track, pays homage to the old school pioneers. Soulivar also includes the instrumentals for all five songs. Unfortunately, after such a long absence from the scene, Soulivar just doesn’t offer enough music to satisfy my craving, making it a cruel tease for his upcoming full-length. Otherwise, Soulivar acts as a great introduction to the skills of rapper-producer Stace Prints. (Welterweight)