Soul Position

8 Million Stories

Producer RJD2 shot into the spotlight with his 2002 debut, Dead Ringer. The sample-based album was filled with lush, evolving instrumentals, and critics ate it up, many branding him the Second Coming of DJ Shadow. After a Dead Ringertrack was featured on a Saturn car commercial, the wunderkind went on to remix songs for artists ranging from Massive Attack to Souls of Mischief. Riding his meteoric rise to fame, the beatsmith teamed with fellow Columbus, Ohio, native MC Blueprint to form Soul Position. As expected, the beats on their novel album are better than 99 percent of hip hop on shelves today. The pleasant surprise, however, is relative newcomer Blueprint, whose tales of frustration and, ultimately, optimism unfold effortlessly over RJD2's rousing soundscapes.

On the first of a series of "Candyland" interludes, Blueprint recalls memories from childhood, a time when fantasy was reality. Building on this theme, "Just Think" twists the lyrics of the Roots' jazz-hop classic "Proceed" to create an imaginative escape from everyday monotony. "Just think/ What if you could/ Just blink yourself away/ Just blink and the night turns to day/ Just blink and the pain fades away," raps Blueprint, lamenting a world that "consume[s] gloom." The verbal vinegar bubbles up anew on "Fuckajob," an ode to the menial 9-to-5 existence, and "Share This." On the latter, Blueprint gets personal over a tender score of wandering pianos and whimsical harps: "The story of my life epitomizes imperfection/ As a musical where every scene seems to lack direction." However by song's end, the suddenly focused MC finds reason in his rhyme: "But as bad as it appears/ I'm happy I'm here/ To share this with you."

On the "Intro," Blueprint lays out the duo's agenda: "Soul Position/ On a mission to move crowds with ease/ DJs, MCs/ Rethink your obligation to the art." But when the final chapter closes on "1 Love," Blueprint has come full circle, taking his own advice to heart: "I realize I can't change the world/ No matter how much I try/ But hopefully I can start with you/ One line at a time, one rhyme at a time."

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