Soul Cannon recently released their second full length studio album, The Mixed Ape. Their first album, Kaboom, is also for sale for the nutso low price of $4.99 here. The Mixed Ape is a welcome continuation of the bands emphasis on live sounds from real instruments, but they also foray into new soundscapes and harmonic possibilities. The lyrical focus from MC Eze Jackson is ripe with imagination, social commentary, and bawdy intimacy without ever sacrificing flow and rhythmic interest. In short, Soul Cannon has cultivated a unique sound and displays real evolution as they plunge headlong into their career with the release of their second album.
The Mixed Ape opens with the song "Fall In (Whatchugonadew???)" where MC Eze and crew set the album's tone and the bands philosophy off with the line: "I get the feeling we're approaching an end to the Hollywood thugs and Beverly Hills pimps, mixed tape gangsters and radio killers.." Soul Cannon is a self-proclaimed alternative to bullshit because mainstream hip hop has become about the image and culture around the music, whereas Soul Cannon is strictly about the music.
The third cut on the record is "Good Day Dream" and for my money this is one of the stand out tracks. This one has it all, musicality, flow, and MC Eze flexing the golden pipes when the sings the hook. Furthermore, Matt Frazao (guitar) and Jon Birkholz (piano) sculpt a really interesting melodic and harmonic progression that entertains the listener as they groove and try to catch all the little tangential gestures tossed off by the musicians. "Good Day Dream" is a quintessential model of the band's diverse music influences and capabilities.
Soul Cannon: Good Day Dream
"Smiley :)", and "In The Morning", were unexpected gems for me because I really wasn't expecting MC Eze to embrace the role of singer in such a primary role, and in such a Genesis In The Air Tonight kind of way. Nate Ellman-Bell (drums) drives these tunes with an infallible pocket and a deep set groove that allows the auto-tuned Eze Jackson room to get his sexy on. I like these tracks more and more with each listen and am really excited that Soul Cannon is expressing themselves in such a myriad of ways within this album.
Soul Cannon: Smiley 🙂
On "Sweet City (Out Of Town Lessons)", MC Eze uses his rhymes to write social commentary about the inherant violence in city culture – regardless of the city. In general, Soul Cannon uses hip hop to not only groove and have a good time, but as a means of expressing their thoughts and feelings about city culture, hip hop culture, and the concerns of a Baltimorean who grew up in a Dickensian city where two blocks is all that separates the impoverished from the rich. MC Eze's perspective and linguistic abilities in combination with the band's talent, and jazz influence is what separates Soul Cannon from the rest and makes them an alternative to bullshit.
Soul Cannon: Sweet City (Out Of Town Lessons)
Bounce, Shake, Rock, Roll. "The Greatest Underwater Story Ever Told" is a left turn on the album lyrically speaking. In this one MC Eze and the Cannon tell the story of underwater treasure hunters who find shark battles, Posiden's treasure, a leviathan, and even love on their underwater adventure. This truly is the greatest underwater story ever told! The quirkiness, creativity, and quick pace of these lyrics will bring listeners back again and again to fully absorb the entirety of the songs entertainment.
Soul Cannon: The Greatest Underwater Story Ever Told
Preachers, sea creatures, throwback ballads, and social commentary collide at the intersection of jazz and hip hop. This is Soul Cannon. This is The Mixed Ape. This is a not to be missed album and a diamond in the rough of the Baltimore scene. You can get all of your Soul Cannon needs from their official webpage, facebook page, twitter feed, and itunes. You can also follow Soul Cannon members EZ Jackson and Jon Birkholz on twitter. You dig?