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In the dog-eat-dog world of Hip-Hop, very rarely do you find the quintessential ‘group’ anymore.

More times than not, they usually break up due to creative differences, dreams of solo success, or for other reasons all together.

As for the Oakland-based quartet of Souls Of Mischief, this is not the case, and they reassure that fact with their new album, Montezuma’s Revenge.

The crew of A-Plus, Opio, Tajai, and Phesto that brought the world ‘93 ‘til Infinity’ returns nine years after their last effort, (in Trilogy: Conflict, Climax, Resolution) to once again prove that the “Left Coast” does indeed have quality lyricists of their own.

Their signature cohesiveness shines through on strong tracks like the trials and tribulations of relationship drama in ‘Postal’ and ‘Lickity Split’; the jazzy and mellow feel of their traveling escapades in ‘Tour Stories,’ the bass-riddled ‘Proper Aim,’ and the drum-driven ‘Fourmation.’

On ‘Poets,’ the foursome uses a well-placed voice sample of a woman breaking down the definition of a poet, as they reiterate the meaning by displaying their skills.

The Hieroglyphics alumni then continue to exact their revenge with more sounds of authentic Hip-Hop by way of ‘LaLaLa,’ ‘ForReal Y’all,’ and ‘Hiero HQ.’

Even at the height of their fame, the West Coast was always considered as one of the least lyrical regions representing for Hip-Hop, but when Souls Of Mischief got an opportunity to show their ability, that stigma started to change.

Just as they did back then, they continue to do now: Bouncing off each other with a fluid chemistry that sometimes eludes groups that have been together for a long period of time.

In hindsight, Souls Of Mischief’s Montezuma’s Revenge is a solid testament to their staying power, and also should be used as a blueprint for up-and-coming groups that strive for longevitybecause learning from a collective that’s been doing it since “93” isn’t a bad studying block to start from.

Rating: 3.5

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