This album was released on February 22nd this year. I haven’t heard every single project Sole has ever released, but I’ve listened to a large enough portion to have a general idea of who he is as a musician. Earlier on in his career, I feel like his music was so abstract and lyrically esoteric that it was frustrating & difficult to try to decipher what he was saying. He thankfully started being a little more straightforward this decade though. One other thing I noticed about his earlier work is that a lot of his bars didn’t rhyme at all, which was pretty bizarre to me. You might not notice it at first, but if you really listened to what he was saying or read the lyrics, you’d realize that it didn’t rhyme. This along with the confusing lyrics made him difficult to get into for me. A lot of his verses kinda just seemed like him yelling random thoughts that made little sense into a microphone. I kind of liked Bottle of Humans, but other than that I couldn’t really fuck with most of his earlier work. Like I mentioned, it got a little easier to enjoy once I got to A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing, which is probably my favorite album from him so far. His rapping became much easier to understand, and he started actually rhyming a lot more. However, that’s honestly the only other album from him that I actually ended up liking. The two albums he did with DJ Pain 1 were decent I guess. My issue these days usually isn’t with the lyrics. I just don’t find the musical choices to be that entertaining. I didn’t really like the way he sounded over DJ Pain 1’s production honestly. He doesn’t really sound good over those more accessible, commercial sounding beats in my opinion. This project in particular is entirely self produced. So yeah, I’ve been pretty mixed on Sole’s music for the most part. Hopefully this project does more for me than his previous few releases.
1. Battle Rap Against Oblivion
Okay, right off the bat this album starts with some super bizarre, sporadic, electronic influenced production. It’s actually really cool to be honest. It’s nowhere near as accessible as anything on his collaborations with DJ Pain 1, and for me that’s a good thing. I really like the way Sole’s rapping on this track too. Honestly, this is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard from Sole. The production is really great, and I think this is one of the best hooks he’s ever done. It sounds great. Both of the verses are cool. This is better than anything I’ve heard on the past three Sole albums honestly. I don’t have any issues with this track at all. It’s dope af.
2. The Spectacle Is the Territory
Wow. The production on this album is so fucking good so far. Man… I love the electronic sounding beat on this track. Something about Sole’s voice on this track sounds kind of strange to me. It’s like there’s a filter over his vocals or something. It sounds fuzzy. This song definitely isn’t as enjoyable to me as the first one. It’s just one long verse with no hook. The lyrics didn’t really do much for me. The references to hyperNormalisation towards the end of the song were kind of interesting I guess. I think this is an entertaining song, but mostly due to the production. I really love the beat. The verse from Sole isn’t exactly bad though. I fuck with this track. It’s dope.
3. Shipwreckers II
I didn’t really care for the original Shipwreckers song that appeared on Sole’s first album with the Skyrider Band. Anyway, the production on this track is pretty nice. It kinda sounds like 80s music. Sole’s sung vocals on the hook have an echo effect, so it’s kinda hard to make out the lyrics. It sounds cool though. The first verse was alright. Nothing about it really stood out that much to me. The lines referencing Ted Bundy & Kanye West were cool. Some of the lyrics were kinda hard to follow to be honest. I’m not really sure what this song is about. I mean, I have a general idea, but I’m not sure if it’s accurate at all… I feel the same way about the second verse as I do about the first one. I mainly enjoy this song from a sonic aspect. I like the production a lot, and I actually really like the sung hook too. It sounds good to me. This is my least favorite song on the album so far, but I like it. It’s dope to me.
Daaamn… This beat is fucking awesome. Sole really stepped his beats up for this project. Well, I don’t even know if I can say that because I don’t think I ever really heard any of his production before checking out this project. I know he’s released some instrumental music before, but I never heard any of it. I’m about halfway through this song, and I’m not really sure what Sole’s rapping about.
The premise of my last album was wrong
But when I said that I was watching a city that I love dearly die
All I could do was get together with friends and complain
So what we did was complain
Huh… I guess he’s still not really rhyming… It sounds like he’s just rambling about random shit again. Ehhh… I’m not really enjoying this honestly. I like the production a lot, but I didn’t really enjoy the way Sole was rapping on this track. There was minimal rhyming. It just sounded like dramatic speech over a nice beat. I’m not even sure how I feel about the lyrics. It’s just Sole passionately ranting about how the government sucks. It’s not like he’s really saying anything that interesting or original. I don’t really like this track. I don’t think it’s bad enough to call it “wack.” I’ll say it’s mediocre though. I didn’t like it at all.
5. Measuring My Cage
The previous track transitions into this one really smoothly. It has more fantastic production. If it wasn’t for the great beats on this album I’d probably be regretting giving this a chance to be honest. Sole’s vocals are buried in the mix on this track. I can barely understand what he’s saying. It might as well not even be in English. Can this be considered Mumble Rap? I feel like people’s main criticism of Mumble Rap is that they can’t understand what the artist is saying. I’m having that same issue with this track. I mean, Sole isn’t really mumbling, so I guess it wouldn’t be considered Mumble Rap. It has more to do with the mixing. Hmm… I enjoy this song from a production standpoint, but I don’t really know if that’s enough to keep me coming back. I feel like if this song came on I wouldn’t go out of my way to turn it off, but I would probably never put this on intentionally. I think this is a step up from the previous track, but I won’t be coming back to it. It’s decent though.
6. No Reset Button
The beat on this track is cool. It’s definitely not blowing me away like a lot of the other beats, but it’s still good. Sole has kind of a melodic delivery on this track. I can thankfully understand what he’s saying. I don’t really care for the song as a whole though. The only aspect of it that really captured my attention for positive reasons was the hook. The beat kinda switches up and gets really dark. The hook is awesome honestly. The lyrics were kinda cool in the second verse too I guess. It’s not interesting enough to make the song worth coming back to in my opinion though. Again, I love the hook on this song, but other than that nothing about it really stands out in a positive way.
7. No God Nor Country
The production on this track is cool. I really like how hard hitting the percussion is. I like the way Sole’s rapping on this track. Hmm… You know, the more I listen to this track the less I like the production. I don’t think it’s bad; it just gets kind of old after a while. It’s pretty repetitive. I feel like my interest in whatever Sole was saying on this track dwindled as the song progressed. At the beginning he described an altercation between a man and the police that resulted in him dying, but he ended up taking down three officers with him. He said the guy’s name, but I don’t know who he is. I think he said something like “Martin Worth.” I may have misheard him. I tried googling it, but couldn’t find anything about it. Anyway, I think this is another decent song. It’s not really that enjoyable for me personally though. The only aspect of the song that really impressed me is the production. The little switch up right at the end of the song was kinda cool too. This is an okay track, but I won’t be returning to it.
8. No Dominion
This song has a nice beat. It sounds like a lo-fi Rock instrumental. Sole’s singing on this track, and it’s really bad to be honest. His voice is incredibly flat. Ehh… Yeah… Nah… This is easily the worst song on the album so far. Sole thankfully stopped singing in the second half of the song. The damage was already done though. This isn’t good. His singing is just not enjoyable at all. I keep forgetting that Sole is vegan. He has a line in here about how humans rape cows and take their milk. I don’t uh… I don’t know if “rape” is the word I would use. I guess I can see how one could view it as rape. Humans exploit cows to drink their milk. When he says we rape cows it makes me think of people literally committing bestiality with them though. Anyway, this song is pretty bad to me. I kinda liked the production at first, but the synths that eventually come in make it sound really dumb to me. It reminds me of Sports! by Tim & Eric. That’s far from my main gripe with the song though. Sole’s singing was so bad. I knew from the first thirty seconds of the song that I wasn’t gonna ever come back to it because Sole’s singing doesn’t sound good at all. This shit is wack to me.
9. Beach Beneath the Street featuring ERDA
Hmm… This beat sounds like more lo-fi 80s music. I don’t know how I feel about it honestly. Pretty much this entire album has just been Sole ranting about shit he doesn’t like about the world—particularly the US. It’s cool for him to express his views, but it’s not really enjoyable for me to listen to it. He sounds bitter as hell. The first verse didn’t really do anything for me. I’m really not feelin’ the sung hook from this ERDA guy. I don’t think he has a bad voice or anything; I just don’t really care for the melody he’s singing. It also sounds like he has a strange effect on his vocals. It makes the lyrics virtually unintelligible. The second verse from Sole didn’t impress me. ERDA’s second appearance on this track actually sounds a lot worse than the first one honestly. The melody he’s singing doesn’t even seem to fit over the beat in a good way. It sounds really discordant. I really don’t like this track… I don’t like a single aspect of it. If I had to choose which one is worse I would probably say the previous track is wacker, but this song is still pretty bad to me. I’m not feelin’ it.
10. Born to Ruins
The production on this track is decent. It’s better than that of the previous song, but it’s still not really that impressive to me. Ehhh… I really don’t like the way Sole’s rapping on this track. His flow seems pretty shaky. It seems like he’s trying to rhyme for the most part though, so that’s nice I guess. Man… You know the bar has really been lowered when “he’s actually rhyming” is the only positive thing you can say about a rap song. The percussion that comes in about halfway through the track was a nice way to recapture my attention. It’s really minimal though. Ugh… I don’t like this song. I don’t think it’s as bad as the previous two tracks. I don’t know if I’m willing to call it “wack.” I’d never call this good though. The production is stale as hell, and Sole didn’t impress me on this song at all. I just can’t bring myself to care about anything he’s saying. This is mediocre to me.
I just listened to this entire song. I’m not gonna be coming back to it. I don’t think it’s bad at all though. I actually like the beat a lot. The way it evolves is really cool to me. In fact, the way the entire song ends is really cool to me. The track as a whole just doesn’t do enough to make me wanna return to it. Sole’s rapping didn’t really impress me. He didn’t say anything that interested me. The best aspect of the song in my opinion is the production. Sole’s rapping isn’t particularly bad on this track though. It just doesn’t really stand out to me. This isn’t a bad song at all. It’s an okay track.
This is the best sole album since sole and skyrider imo. I haven’t liked his last few records though and i am an old head. Part of sole’s of asthetic was non rhyme raps and heavily distorted vocals. Kool Keith used to not rhyme too, same with lil b and sometimes lil wayne. Idk why it’s still surprising to people. Or why rhyme has to be present to enjoy a track. This is the best album of the short year to me so far. Sole is back on his og shit.