Souls Of Mischief At The Majestic Theater
Upon hearing that west coast hip-hop legends Souls of Mischief would be making an appearance in Madison Wisconsin, I knew I would have to be in attendance. After all, this is the group responsible for 93 ‘til Infinity, a classic album whose title track would propel the group into stardom and realize the self-fulfilling prophecy it implied. Twenty years solid the Souls and their Hieroglyphics collective have achieved a longevity and relevance that few in the genre can rival.
So, you can imagine my surprise upon entering the venue towards the end of the opening act and finding it half empty. Suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised considering the backlash the city’s hip-hop community has received due to some isolated instances of violence that occurred at some local events, which included many venues refusing to book any act associated with the genre.
There would be no such negativity on this night though, only a glistening nostalgia for an era when innovation and styles reigned supreme, this would be one for the heads.
Although original member Tajai was conspicuously absent from the scene, the rest of the crew held down a tight set that consisted of both classic material like “That’s When Ya Lost” as well some tracks from their recent standout album Montezuma’s Revenge. With two decades worth of releases under the belt, the crew managed the stage and crowd with the practiced ease of veteran performers.
However, years of constant touring and promotion can be draining and there were times when the group appeared to be cycling through the motions, generating generic call and response calls with crowd rather than actually engaging with the space and audience. Still, watching a golden era group like Souls of Mischief simply do what they’ve been doing for the last 20 years is quite the privilege and gives aspiring artists insight into what it takes to remain relevant in an industry that is always looking for the next big thing.
Besides, it’ s difficult to remain critical upon hearing the first few notes of “93 ‘til Infinity” at that point all you can do is lose yourself in the music and remember that you are in the presence of legends.