Ras Kass’ Soul On Ice Sequel Uses Lyricism To Confront New Threats (Audio)

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Over two decades ago, Ras Kass planted a flag for lyricism that balanced accounts of life in the streets of South Central with information found in the books that upset the setup. That unique gift culminated on Soul On Ice, the MC’s 1996 debut that has been heralded in circles ever since it dropped. Ever since, Ras Kass has been a beacon for the same kind of music, without compromise.

This weekend, Ras releases Soul On Ice 2 (embedded below), a long-touted sequel to his breakthrough work. He does so with assistance from S.O.I. collaborator Diamond D, as well as a cast that includes Snoop Dogg, Immortal Technique, CeeLo, and Blasphemy collaborator, producer Apollo Brown.

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In a similar vein as his ’96 project, Kass’ latest effort attacks the harsh realities of the world in which he and his constituents live. Despite the time in between records, the mentality and messages between Soul On Ice and its sequel ring true and remain consistent. Comparing his latest album to his debut in a press statement, the MC notes, “What’s stark is how little has changed. The ghosts of America’s original sins continue to haunt, but they’re now twinned with a variety of new indignities from minor to major. They range from trust fund kids pretending to be broke and plasticine women to weed being legal, but the police will still kill you.”

Despite its impressive cast, one of S.O.I. 2‘s finest moments is Ras Kass alone. “Opioid Crisis,” a nod to his single “Nature Of A Threat,” from his Soul On Ice debut, also doubles as the album’s standoff. For seven minutes, Kass rips apart America’s current establishment over Chuck James’ production. Kass’ message is haunting, as the HRSMN rapper continues to attack the same powers that be that he began rapping about over 20 years ago.

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To open, Kass describes a scene with his trademark wicked wordplay. “At Max’s eating a philly / Alt-Right tried to kill me / Dropped my cheesesteak and grabbed the MAC semi / Scuffling, shot a Republican in the face with it / Only the second time I’ve seen an eagle kill a patriot / That’s a Brady fumble, let me slay you double / Catch an L, then another, let the ladies love you / Rappers lazy paying baby dues to vaguely mumble / I’m from a stronger breed, victims of the ’80s struggle / Crack cocaine decimated poor neighborhoods / Politicians attacked us for the ‘greater good’ / The War On Crime, got more people in prison / Than living in Wyoming and South Dakota combined / Society blind / Or willfully ignorant / Ain’t no moral high ground when you’re killing your citizens / Yo, the hood got locked for rock / The ‘burbs sniffed powder and got a slap on the wrist from cops / Stop, frisk, stand your ground / Had b*tches boostin’ in Beverly Hills when Whitney Houston drowned.” Using football and government homonyms, Razzy Kazzy eventually ties his verse to the controversial Rockefeller Laws.

In his second verse, Kass dives deeper into America’s drug epidemic, one that affects not just the country, but the Rap game as well. Then The Purple One OD’d / I went from the revolution to sitting in the nosebleeds / Youngsters try to insinuate you’re washed up they call you O.G. / Nope, I’m just the homie / You in the trap, I’m the best lil’ ni**a / Wash your dirty f*cking mouth out with zest, lil’ ni**a / And Lil’ Peep got depressed, deceased his flesh / So how is it legal to sell a drug with a million side effects, including death / ‘Cause the same condition it supposed to treat / No cures, they sell temporary pain relief / Big pharmaceutical companies supply the ‘burbs / ‘Cause all the pills in West Virginia made by Heisenberg / Republicans blame Mexico, visit New Hampshire, where the Mexicans? / I asked Alexis, them / ‘How do I make heroin out of Dexatrim and Fentanyl?’ / Y’all catchin’ Zs when I spit at y’all / I should be in Forbes for all the illest bars / Time to join the racket, no tennis ball / It ain’t the Mexican cartel, ain’t the Black folk / ‘Cause the real plug wearing white lab coats.”

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Further into the track’s second segment, Kass fights the industry, acknowledging the deep-seeded issues within the industry and Priority Records. He even points the finger at himself. Ras rhymes, “I’m spitting bars my G, ’til I R.I.P / Ask No I.D. / I’ma shine like the star I be / Not lookin’ down on the ground in Hollywood / I be in the hood, stronger despite what this industry did to me / Ten years of litigation, that liar Wendy G / Sometimes the insult is the favor, thank you my frenemies / I’m lovin’ it, we need more women up in the government / Support the #MeToo movement, but I’m discoverin’ / Acknowledges, self-admitted misogynist / The problem is with feminism, it’s corrupted, mister-sogynist.”

Press photograph provided by MAC Media.

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#BonusBeat: Stream/support Soul On Ice 2 by Ras Kass: