October 12, 2016

Ras Kass "Soul On Ice" (The Source, 10/96)

"Ever since some record label bigwigs saw the earning potential of pre-packaged hip-hop and began saturating the market with cardboard cut-out rappers and their fill-in-the-black rhymes, naysayers and the weak of faith have bemoaned the "death" of our culture. Journalists, recording artists and industry-haters from all points on the compass have given their prophetical views about our music's seemingly impending doomsday. Along comes Ras Kass to dead all such talk. Soul On Ice, the sixteen track debut headshot from this Carson, Cali delegate, is a lyrical - I repeat - lyrical journey into the mental of a young n!gga with maaad shit on his mind. Be forewarned, however, this is not another "life got me stressed / shit is hectic / fuck the world 'cuz I'm a depressed ass ghetto denizen" type of deal. Ras Kass may indeed be streetwise, but he also comes off as being an extremely well-read muthaf#cka. This kid drops material that'll have history buffs, religious theorists and English majors alike reaching for their reference books..." Peep the title track below...

"Not to say you need a Ph. D to follow the bouncing ball. There's a little something for everybody here ... what makes this joint so tight is Ras' ability to maintain the same persona throughout each cut. Whether he's spittin' the ill Biblically laced with battle rhymes on "On Earth As It is In Heaven," pullin' files on the gub'mint on the album's title song or even screaming on groupie bitches ... what you hear is a knowledgable cat who can debate, hang out or rumble with the best of 'em... This album should serve as a reassurance that despite all the negative gab about "The End," true heads will prevail. Rappers can continue to hack out bullshit songs and disguise them as lyrics in order to win their record contracts, but as long as MCs like Ras Kass keep flexin' the grey matter after-hours, creating verbals when normal joes are clockin' Z's, Hip-hop, The Artform, will be around when our grand-seeds are the ones rippin' mics and writing jewels." - The Source, October 1996.