Saturday, May 07, 2005

Ras Kass - Soul On Ice Album Review

Okay. this is a review for what I think is one of the most criminally overlooked albums ever. Watch out for me reviewing a chicago hardcore punk rock. Isnt most good hardcore punk from Chicago? Anyways.

01 On Earth As It Is... 5 Stars
The album starts off with a deep, dark beat. There are some eerie sounds mixed with hard drums. Ras Kass drops a battle-type rap. The song is loaded with biblical and religious references and punchlines and metaphors:

"The hip-hop martyr who sacrificed and gave my life
But got "4Pac", so I'm livin the "Thug-Life" in the afterlife
Then I be walking through the pearly gates
with an infared scope ten millimeter heater
Cuz if my name ain't in the "Book of Life" I'm snuffing St. Peter
Drinking the blood of Jesus Christ and p*ssing holy water
no QUESTION who can come cleaner
M-P-C plus M-I-C equals holy B-I-B-L-E to me
Matrimony is getting head but I refuse to break bread
with Jezebels, my management already gets twenty percent
so f*ck tieing, go to Hell... I'd rather continue backsliding
You're not from the tribe of Judah, so why you lying?
Come watch the Zion, I'm signifying
the next sh*t to wreck sh*t and see the Exodus
"

02 Anything Goes 5 Stars
Masterpiece. The beat uses low violins, vocal effects, a melodically deep bassline and a loud clap. Ras talks about how all the people do everything for money. He says "Capitalism is pimps and hoes / In ninety-six I 'spose anything goes"

03 Marinatin’ 5 Stars
This song is a west-coast party, Ras Kass-style. The beat is jazzy and G-Funk influenced track, with flutes, slowed down pianos some synth effects. Ras Kass drops some really cool wordplay, for example:
"She free like Mandela, she bringin a box of Philly pantellas
Acapellas, I game like Lou Pinella, made sure to tell her
"
"Chips like the MGM casino"
"I get around like Dolby Pro Logic"
"So let the front door hit you where Ru Paul probably might"

04 Reelyishymn 5 Stars
The beat uses a heavily processed horn sample, a jazz bassline, a high pitched string, and violins. The chorus is old school R&B-influenced, while the lyrics are ridiculously good. This song is mostly summed up by one of my favorite quotes:

"Make a radio hit - headz criticize it;
Underground classic - nobody buys it:
So, rap is f*cked
And everything blowing up sounds redundant
But money talks and bullsh*t does 9 flat in the hundred
"

I could quote the entire song, but here is a another writing sample for your reading pleasure, nhjic"

"My syntax hydroplanes as though my brain
Slides over liquidated grains of asphault caught cranial calluses
Over analysis leads to paralysis, mediocrity my nemesis
Try to f*ck every radical feminist I meet, call it engage and defeat
That's the reason why black men hide in the womb, homes
Cuz life is all taxes and tombstones
So as flesh and bone I zone my thoughts explode with rap shranel syntax;
That'll wax to the past, and present the future of Ras Kass lies in the
skull
Like the coronal suture
So I write truly fat sh*t for the core audience
But sometimes I wonder does it really exist?
Cuz true lyricists in hip-hop Joe Public be dissin
N*ggas don't relate
Elevate and its treated like elevator music
Cuz' n*ggas don't listen
But ridicle is the burden of genius
Have you ever seen this socioeconomic gullitine rip?
A n*gga's hopes and dreams
And now I'm lead to believe that life is all about CREAM
I'm living a life idealistically principle over profit
But realistically good intentions are microscopic to fat pockets
Exploitation is world's oldest occupation
"

05 Nature of the Threat 5 Stars
Depending on who you ask, this is either the most incredible culmination of lyrcism in hip-hop or a racist piece of filth. What it can't be, however, is ignored. From a musical standpoint only, Ras comes with the basics and the haunting beat provides a great backdrop. An 8 minute epic.

06 Etc. 5 Stars
Another beat that isnt flashy, but it allows Ras to fucking murder the track again. The beat is funky, and it switches up a bit, and there is a lot of vocal samples. Check for example, the alliteration:

"Y'all all suffer the consequences
I dispense dope sentences without a prescription
prefixes asphyxiate b*tches who flips linguistics
Representin the West, relevant to relentless sentences
If renegade rebels resent this wicked syntax (then jack)
Revert to revolution Ras reverse, reverberates
Revolvin with written retalliation, rate repetitious
Reflex flex, regret n*ggaz regress to less than recoup
When recording, I wreck, records
Reflect stupid, it's so much more than just another rap and sample
Cause I model more styles than Naomi Campbell
See we been burning idiots with lyrical syphillis
Since E.S.T. was Ackniculous, the nickle slick meticulous
ventriloquist when I throws my voice over the Western HemisFear
While my peers step over a Trail of Tears
"

or how he just tears it up:
"So bulletproof fists is the only way I'm gone miss, but peep this
My mental's the bullet, my tongue's the finger that pull it
Check the method, soundtrack voodoo uh and bamboo like strapped
Come better you, oh, sorry, verbal dyslexia...
You better come strapped like bamboo and a voodoo soundtrack
And make sure not even one bar sounds wack (b*tch)
"

07 Sonset 5 Stars
This album was recorded in the East Coast-West Coast thing, and this song is not an Eastcoast diss, but it's more of standing up for where he's from. Ras mocks New York's superiority complex. The background beat is simple, yet haunting. The lyrics...damn. Again, too much to quote, but here's a sample:

"Geographic prejudice against increments of incredulos legislature
Pschologically, I masturbate with the hands of fate
So bust nuts on Mother Nature coming on your landscape
[...]
If nuttin' else here's all you need to remember
LLA'Y LLA KCUF for all you backwards n*ggas

[...]
Dem gwan front like Rosa Parks
But them marks is broke wristed (b*tch)
You got superiority complex
Based on old statisitics, now listen
Respect due to the pioneers
But what you burrogh did in 83'
Is ancient history brah'
So why these n*ggas actin' like
Since they live in the state
That rap originates
They automatically, all-time greats?
It takes classic material to make phat shit
Not proof of New York residence and an accent
[...]
Fundamentally is the ability to smother suckas
So if rap was born to another then that makes me your motha's fucka
"


08 Drama f/ Coolio 3 1/2 Stars
Coolio is a questionable guest appearence. However, Ras kills the shit. The beat is bouncy, and Ras Kass spits some truly memorable lines:

"Cause when I was lackin, b*tches made me want to roll over and die
So now I lie, cause b*tches are like flies {why?}
They attract to the best sh*t {oh!}
You gotta play Max Julian's role unless you plan on being celibate
Cause b*tches want the money clip and whatever d*ck that comes with it
{The b*tch} saw me in the Lex and didn't know it came from Avis
Now she's on the Tip like my name was John Davis
"

Really, it takes a pop culture encyclopedia sometimes to catch all the metaphors and all the word play (i.e. Tip/John Davis.) However, this is not as good as the other songs.

09 The Evil That Men Do 5 Stars
Fuckin awesome. The beat uses thumping drums and a deep basslines as well as a great synth effect. Ras raps about the evil that corrupts men, and its an introspective masterpiece:

"In eighty-one I remember the night
I covered myself with baby powder, so my black ass could be light
Cause God is white, and Bo Derek is a ten
I hate my black skin, it's just a sin to be a n*gga
"

The second verse is about how he himself does the evil. He talks about how he ends up having a child and going to prison, and concludes:

"I'm lookin at myself and seein every other n*gga I knew
It's the evil that men do
"

10 If/Then 4 1/2 Stars
This beat is only midly amusing. However, it's main use of flutes fits the mood of the song, and Ras Kass absoultely murders the shit with a Canibus-style battle rap. There's too much to quote. Ras references everything from Wu-Tang to acryllic nails to Lamaze breathing techniques to Hershey's kisses. Incredible.

11 Miami Life 4 1/2 Stars
This is a pro-Miami song, talking about his life in Miami. The beat is simple enough, with synthesized flutes and vocals and a siren. Ras drops incredible amount of metaphors and similies, and here is a small sample:
"Walk these streets with more Heat than Alonzo Mourning"
"I'm on a roll like toilet tissue"
"I never been seen like the Loch Ness"

and so on.

12 Soul On Ice [Diamond D Remix] 5 Stars
This is the title track, remixed by the legendary Diamond D. The beat is great, using synth pianos, violins, and the like. Ras Kass raps in a "Public Enemy style" but of course in his style, more heavy on wordplay and metaphors and the like. Again, too much to quote. Here's a real short sample:

"Tiger Woods ain't even up to par in the game of survival
That's why I'm pissin' in y'all Cristal bottles
Drink Listerine brush my teeth with amphetamine
So I can sound fresh and say dope things in between
"

13 Ordo Abchao (Order Out of Chaos) 5 Stars
The end track can be seen as the follow-up to "Nature of the Threat." The introduction to the song is a thumping and haunting drum beat, until a horn, piano keys, chimes, hard bass, and some background vocals, which provide the backdrop for the rest of the track. Ras raps mostly about the Illuminati and shit. For example:

"It only takes a trigger and 12.98 plus tax to potentially murder 50 n*ggas
So motherf*ckers better duck like Daffy
Cause nowadays the average n*gga think they Butch Cassidy
And the Sundance Kid, doin' bids with no remorse
It's almost methodical, education is false assimulation
"

Also, some quotables: "Most of us n*ggas wanna be pimps but Uncle Sam really pimpin' them," but one of my favorite quotes ever:

"The planet revolves, supposedly, man evolves
But no promblem is solved, cause man is the cause
"

Fucking classic.

Overview
The album is one of the most lyrically intense in history. The biggest complaint is that the beats can't match Ras Kass sonically. However, even tho some of the beats are a little pedestrian, they fit the overall theme of the song and complement Ras Kass. Whereas more flashy production mightve tried to compete for your attention, these beats provide a backdrop so that you focus your attention on the album's strongest point: lyricism.

Final rating: 5 Stars out of 5

42 Comments:

Anonymous destiny said...

Ras Kass is underrated for a good reason. They completely suck, their style is sloppy, and their lyrics are sub par. They have potential, so all is not lost.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

the fact that you think "they" are a group completely ruins your credibility.

ras kass is one guy. this isnt D12. wake up.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous destiny said...

Uhhhh you wake up because Ras Kass is a group. There are silent members who rap but choose not to be seen. And you're absolutely correct D12 is a better group. Brush up on your hip hop sweetness.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

ras kass is one guy. one guy. his real name is john austin. one dude. the cover has one guy. they interview ras kass, and they put a picture of one guy and they ask questions to one guy. i dont know who the FUCK youre confusing him with, but hes one guy.

and d12 is a terrible group.

12:35 AM  
Blogger macq said...

No wait i think destiny is right. Just like Biggie Smalls, he was a group too and........im sorry i cant even be sarcastic your comment is so stupid. And then the fact that you are arguing over it.......damnit Xplicit waste this beeyotch

12:39 AM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

and i heard the whole damn album, and there isnt anybody else rapping besides coolio on "drama."

he used to be a part of the Western Hemisfear and now hes part of the Golden State Warriorz with Xzibit and Saafir.

look it up.

bottom line, im right, youre wrong.

12:41 AM  
Anonymous destiny said...

I'm sorry Ras Kass is more than one dude. Trust me, they had an agreement before they made it big, that only one person would be visible. The other members had no interest in being seen, they only want to rap and that is it. That is why you see only one person give interviews and such. And why am I being cussed at and called a BEEYOTCH? I didn't disrespect anybody. That is completely uncalled for. If you just look in the jacket of their CD, it will confirm what I am saying. Later.

12:53 AM  
Blogger macq said...

Umm exactly what is the name of the album you are talking about?

1:09 AM  
Anonymous destiny said...

Macq, first of all your comment was hurtful and ugly. I go out of my way not to disrespect anyone, and to have that thrown at me for no reason is not right. Why would you be intersted in me telling you which CD? I'm just a BEEYOTCH, remember. Cmon man I'm a human being. Jeez.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

destiny...macq means "beeyotch" as a term of endearment. he was just raised that way, no homo.

as for which CD, well, you claim that it is on the "jacket of their CD" and that "it will confirm what [you are] saying." so obviously if you tell us which Cd it is, we can check the jacket and see what you mean.

1:35 AM  
Blogger chiseven said...

destiny-
you must prove your ricockulous "Ras-Kass" is one guy theory with linkage or else you are a douchebag. There is no debate.
And D-12 is dog-shit.

1:35 AM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

> ricockulous

uhh...no homo.

1:38 AM  
Blogger chiseven said...

absolutely right. my bad.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous destiny said...

Dude, yes you are right D12 is a terrible group. I don't recall ever saying they were great. I used them as a way of saying Ras Kass isn't even better than them. I hate getting into a war of words because it is juvenile and silly. Adults should be able to talk without resorting to filthy language. But you're showing qualities of a douche bag by that ugly statement Chiseven. Wow. Why does there seem like there is always resentment when a girl tries to participate in a hip hop discussion? Hip hop is a major part of my life, why would I make this up? I'm not benefiting financially from Ras Cass. Wow.

1:50 AM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

destiny, this isnt about being a girl

you claim that a guy everybody knows is one guy is actually several guys, and you dont back it up with proof

also, you tell us a CD is proof but wont tell us WHICH CD is proof

so until you can provide some evidence, youre wrong

1:53 AM  
Blogger flyno20 said...

when it comes to rap,
djxplicit = right

No homo, no rider

2:05 AM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:20 AM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

^true. nhjic.

also, if there are other guys, why do they only talk about one guy? how come you only hear one guy's voice, and not the "unseen" members rapping? how come youll hear ras kass join a group, and its the same one guy rapping throughout this whole album?

listen to this album. only one guy is featured rapping. if ras kass is a group, then they all sound the same and they all had the same life and they all think the same shit.

what do "they" do for their live shows? does the one "seen" member do the other people's verses? do the other people show up in ski masks?

again, try to provide any proof whatsoever as to how ras kass is really more than one person.

2:21 AM  
Anonymous destiny said...

At this point I'm just tired. I'll repeat it one more time. There are other members of Ras Kass. What do I stand to gain by lying about this? Yes, he is the only person you will see in concerts, interviews, etc. They do not want to be SEEN, they have no interest in that aspect of the game. You know what, I have the CD in my hand right now. But you know what, why should I share it? I have been cussed at, called names, and that is the epitome of disrespect because I don't deserve that. I'm sorry if my comments have angered or irritated anyone because that certainly wasn't my intention. Good night.

3:22 AM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

i didnt call anybody names. but the fact that you wont tell us which cd it is only makes me think you are confused and/or wrong.

8:54 AM  
Blogger macq said...

Im sry destiny if you were hurt by my comments, but your wrong, and not only are you wrong you are arguing that you are right without supporting your argument with any proof. But as Flyno said when it comes to rap Xplicit=right. (no rider)

Btw Luis if you are proven wrong........damn thats some cold shit buddy (nh)

7:55 PM  
Blogger chiseven said...

Jesus...Destiny, you are pathetic.
It's bad enough that some woman tries to come into our manly hip-hop discussion but to take umbrage at our disbelief ?!? Good god, either name who these ghostly emcees are or go back to fixing eggs for your man.
I can't speak for these other fools but I am a misogynist and I hate women, so your comments are without merit. Please try to be more like men. Until you can do so go listen to some Jill Scott. Wow. Being an asshole kinda rules. No homo of course.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

hey...lets not scare away the women. unlike chiseven, who has several female admirers, a fan club, and groupies, i have like, 5 females who havent had the good common sense to not read this bullshit.

6:43 AM  
Blogger chiseven said...

whoops sorry.
djxplicit= a sensitive and caring individual who respects women unlike his online friend chiseven. Besides, them's just jokes anyway. Still, the burden of proof weighs upon Destiny...

7:06 PM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

well chiseven, we cant all be online pimps treatin women like ho's and having women crowd all over us. some of us have to pretend we give a shit about women's feelings. i know. its tragic.

no homo on this and the last 2 comments

10:35 PM  
Blogger chiseven said...

"we cant all be online pimps treatin women like ho's and having women crowd all over us."
I know. It gets old when I'm tryin' to use the internets and all these ho's are grabbin the dilznick when I'm tryin to drop obscure comments on internets blogs.
So when are you gonna send me that Sepultura /P.E. mix you made a few months ago? I wanna hear what "Roots" and Public Enemy sound like.

2:26 AM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

shit man...unless someone i sent it to still has it, i dont know how to get it to you. i had it on my comp which isnt workin, so i copied on to a cd and now the laptop im borrowing wont read cd's for some weird reason. imma need to find a friend to help me out, no homo. whats your email address? nh.

p.s. i just had the most ghetto-est conversation of my life. one phone you could hear the other people, but they couldnt hear you. on the other, they could hear you, but i couldnt hear them. basically, i had to talk into one (nh) and listen through the other. nhjic.

3:08 PM  
Blogger chiseven said...

two phones eh? Sounds like yer ballin' more than me (no homo). I only got one(no homo). And the Email is chiseven@gmail.com (no homo).
And just for good measure, no homo.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Zodiac Digital said...

id rather have one phone in which i can conversate regularly than two phones i need to switch off on to hold regular conversation

2:49 PM  
Blogger Eddie Beaver said...

I always wanted Soul On Ice, but by the time I'd become hip to Ras Kass it was 1999 and it was already like 40-50.00 on the internet, which it still is the last time I checked. I'm in the Navy, I can't afford that much for a cd, even though it is classic according to everyone I know who's heard it.

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know that the Diamond D remix was a 12" and not on the album right? If djexplicit is the answer it was a stupid queston.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Robbie said...

Maybe that broad is talking about "Rass Kass present The Re-Up" which had his weed carriers on it?

9:41 PM  
Anonymous destiny said...

No, that is not what the broad is talking about. There are two other members. Later.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy shit, is this bitch whacked? what is she talking about? "Ras Kass a group" she is obviously very confused, conspiracy theory? maybe, w/e maybe shes just looking for attention cuz anyone who knows hip hop knows ras is one guy, and she is clearly lying because if she wasn't she would tell us what cd that it says ras is a group, then she tries to act all mature and say we are immature and then won't tell us (tyring to cover up a lie) dumb bitch spread your shit elsewhere peace

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