Souls Of Mischief Reminisce as From '93 to Infinity Turns 20
It's been 20 years since Tajai introduced his counterparts Phesto, A Plus, and Opio (aka The Souls Of Mischief) one by one over the intro to "From 93 Till Infinity." Obviously, a lot of has changed since the days when Opio had dreads and Phesto was sporting that crisp Athletics' Starter jersey. But one thing that has remained steadfast is the camaraderie and brotherly love within the Souls camp and, on a larger scale, the umbrella they're under, The Hieroglyphics.
Infinity and beyond...
Despite being together longer than a lot of groups that have had recent Twitter spats and a never-ending cycle of break-ups to make-ups, Souls of Mischief are as close as ever in their everyday lives and still recording and touring as a group. No small feat considering we may never hear a new OutKast record ever again, Wu Tang Clan always seems to be on the verge of splitting up for good and let's not even delve into the on-again-off-again Mobb Deep drama.
As the quartet awaits the premiere of their video helmed by Ghostface collaborator Adrian Younge (who is also the mastermind behind their upcoming release There Is Only Now) set to drop on the anniversary of their debut album, Souls sacrificed some of their downtime to chop it up about the importance of continuity, Old New York memories and why they could never really be mad at their old label, Jive. As promised they're basically still chilling till infinity.
Oh man. The gang's all here! It's the 20th Anniversary of 93 Till Infinity. How are you guys looking to revisit that classic project?
Tajai: For the tour we're rocking the whole record plus some obscure joints and some new joints. And then we also have a documentary about the making of the record and just us leading up to that album. Really we're just trying to connect the younger generation with the older one. When we do these shows cats are bringing their kids and their kids are grown so it's just new stuff for them to experience together.
Phesto: It's not like this is a reunion or resurgence or a comeback or anything like that. It's something where our loyal fans have been watching us every year grow and grow and grow. So we wanted to give the gift of 93 Till Infinity but at the same time keep it fresh and keep it connected to what's new.
So where does Adrian Younge come into play?
A Plus: We wanted to do something poignant for the 20th anniversary. And what better person, really? We're fans of his music; he's a fan of ours. The chemistry was good and we had been planning on doing something special together for a while now. That's how he came into the fold.
Phesto: Plus for our last album [Montezuma's Revenge] that was our first time working with an outside producer. For that album pretty much we worked entirely with DJ Prince Paul. I think we all felt like that was a good look. So when A Plus talked to Adrian and came with that whole idea I think we were all like "Oh yeah. Last time it worked out well." And Adrian is just doing a whole other thing with the live instrumentation so we were excited for something new like that.
I remember way back early on you guys were one of the first to have a website popping and using that to keep in contact with your fans. Do you guys feel like pioneers within that realm?
A Plus: Absolutely. Logistically alone we were the first music act to have a website. In hindsight that was some big shit. And at the time it just felt like a natural progression. It wasn't like "Oh let's do this because in the future..." Nah it just came together. Us and Naughty By Nature were the only guys to have anything on the Internet.
Wow. Can't even imagine that nowadays.
Opio: Yeah, it's hard to picture it, but that's how it got started. Just wanting to keep the fans informed of what we were up to and how to obtain our merchandise and when we were going to be performing in their city. It was direct contact with them without the label or radio or anybody else.
So hailing from East Oakland how do you feel Oakland's changed in 20 years? Brooklyn has changed drastically. Does Oakland still feel like Oakland?
Tajai: Oakland is like Brooklyn and Manhattan is like San Francisco. So I ask you: Brooklyn's changed but is it not Brooklyn anymore though? You can still get it right? You can still catch it. That's how Oakland is. It's different, but it's the same.
A Plus: Shit we were just walking down Marcus Garvey Blvd. earlier. You can tell you're still in the hood.
Opio: New York has changed a lot though. We've been coming to New York since the early 1990s. We used to be drinking 40s and smoking weed all on the train.
Phesto: Yeah we spent the whole summer of I think 1994 in New York so we definitely feel and see the changes New York has undergone. Because in 1994 the face [of NYC] was just different. I remember that Mad Lion song "Take It Easy" was everywhere that summer in 1994 and people were in Phat Farm.