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Wax Lyrical is defined by TTEOAN as: music created in an unreserved and highly prolific way that is pressed on vinyl, or that uses a vinyl aesthetic. Simply put, it means: dope lyricists/singers/producers, be they writers or performers, that are pressed on wax and/or that use samples from wax/interpolations in their music (refer to Wax Lyrical posts on 7/18 or 7/26 for a more elaborate description).
Volume 2 focuses on the California Bay Crew Souls of Mischief: Phesto, Opio, Tajai & A-Plus. They got their start in the industry by having strong ties with two established artists that were cousins (Ice Cube and Del). Del was regarded as the leader of the Hieroglyphics Crew. Opio, Tajai, A-Plus, and solo Hieroglyphics member Casual-used to live in the same neighborhood, They made demos together while they were pre-teens.
front L to R: Opio, Pep Love, Del, A-Plus. back L to R: Domino, Phesto, Tajai, Casual.
Souls of Mischief, and more specifically the Hieroglyphics crew were a West Coast version of the super crews during Golden Era Hip Hop like Wu-Tang Clan, Native Tongues, Lynch Mob, Def Squad, and Diggin’ In The Crates. Souls of Mischief were one of the first Hip Hop groups to retain all their publishing upon signing to Jive Zomba around 1992. They were known as prolific freestylers that stormed an industry convention and ciphered with signed artists, holding their own (Organized Konfusion, Curious George-Walk Like a Duck). This move exposed them to record executives that were eager to sign them. A bidding war ensued.
They solidified their place in the Hip Hop community by getting respect for their lyricism & dope beats with an East Coast Hip Hop aesthetic. Up to that point, even with the lyrically based Good Life movement in L.A. (Project Blowed, Jurassic 5, Freestyle Fellowship, 2000 Crows, Pharcyde), well-known West Coast Hip Hoppers were not typically known for their lyricism.
The song: ‘Never No More’ was their third, and final single off the classic ’93 ‘til Infinity LP. A-Plus was on production. The 4-man crew got loose over his beat. It was released in 1994 on 12” with ‘Make Your Mind Up’ and ‘Good Feeling’. They made a video for it as well. S.O. to the Hieroglyphics for bringing lyricism to forefront on the West Coast.