20″This is how we chill from 93 'til…”
Hip-Hop purists from all over Orange County came out to the Observatory in OC Saturday night to witness one of the most underrated, yet critically famed hip hop crews to step out the left coast during the genres golden age.
The Observatory alongside Out Da House Productions brought home Souls Of Mischief– the group consisting of emcees Phesto, Tajai, A-Plus, and Opio, hailing from East Oakland, California- who broke into the early hip hop scene in the early 90s. For those who have lived through the genres early years and for those of us who have arrived into the culture later on and dug into the history, it is an undisputable statement to say that this is a crew that is one of the pioneers of hip hop, that of legendary acclaim to the “real” hip hop heads, and this was a show not to be missed. (and why would you? when tickets we're brought to you for only $5)
The night kicked off to good start, we had a nice little lineup to prep the crowd featuring Pro The Leader of American Poets 2099, City Dwellers, Emcee Classiq w/Dj Snoop, Dusty Crates, Drewid of Speach Impediements and we had Indjnous holding down the 1's and 2's all night, bringing nothing but that raw shit- from Wu-Tang Clan cuts to the smooth sounds of the Fugees. By 8:30 pm the place seemed light of a crowd than usual, raising the question whether heads had gotten the memo, or whether we hadn't exposed the show enough to bring out a large enough crowd, or whether people even cared for Souls Of Mischief. Close to 10pm all doubts vanished, the venue filled with a little more than half room capacity, and looking out the doors you could find a long line of enthusiastic fans, that curved half of the venues length, still waiting to get in.
The “93 'til infinity” phrase tees and the three-dotted-eye, straight-mouth logo was seen all around (in reference to the crews extended hip hop collective Hieroglyphics). Souls of Mischief hit the stage roughly around 11:25pm, the stage lit up, out stepped Tajai, Phesto, and Opio, and although fourth member A-plus was missing, the crowd went up into a roar of excitement.
They often say, “you get what you pay for” but in this case, Tajai, Phesto, and Opio gave hip hop fans all that and much more. Souls of Mischief took a full room into a nostalgic voyage with cuts like “A Name I Call Myself”, “That's When Ya Lost”, “Never No More” and “Step to my Girl”.
Mid-way into their set Opio said “…We are hip hop. If you are here tonight you represent hip hop. If you know about hip hop and if you know about Souls Of Mischief, then you know about Hieroglyphics”– the crowd went nuts and all three members broke into the Hiero track “You Never Knew”. But the moment it all became surreal was when the trio broke out into the sweet sounds of “Cab Fare”- one of the rarest tracks off a early Hieroglyphics mixtape to never get proper shine. Once the sound of that flute came on it felt like we were caught in a dream. Everyone raised their hands in the air, vibing to the smooth melody that flowed out the speakers.
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Opio announced towards the end of the night that this date marked the 20th year anniversary of Souls Of Mischief. Souls of Mischief's first studio album 93 'til Infinity was released September 28, 1993 under Jive records, and our city had the privilege to celebrate this 20 year longetivity.
Souls of Mischief ended the night in the most proper way, performing “93 'till Infinity”- as everyone recited along line-per-line until the hook hit, “this is how we chill from 93 'till…” – hands sprang up, moving in a up and downward motion and bodies swinging in correlating movement, showing mad love and respect.
It was another epic night for Hip Hop at the Observatory and for the Out Da House catalog. This was one of those shows that remind us why we admire the genre, why hip hop will never be dead, and why we do what we do.