Not for Nothing, Exclaim

Soso makes sad, depressing music, and nothing much has changed in the six years since his last solo album, Tinfoil on the Windows. On his fifth solo record, Soso asks, “What is it all for?” touching upon topics of loss, loneliness and a reluctance to accept change. Oh, and also pesky but cute baby raccoons. His lyrics are heartfelt and honest, rhyming as often as not, and his delivery is much more spoken word than traditional rap flow, although he does attempt earnest, off-kilter crooning on “The Blushing Bride” and the title track. With long stretches of songs without words, the music is equally as important and Maki’s beautifully melancholy production is a perfect match for Soso’s sorrowful subject matter. The downtempo beats are intricately crafted, layered with hard-hitting drums and a preference for piano, violin and acoustic guitar — the simple guitar progression and accompanying violin and twangy guitar on “The Extermination of a Raccoon, Second Part (Epiphany)” is an album highlight. Like Buck 65, Soso’s style is rooted in hip -hop, but it’s just a starting point to explore music and story. Those looking for unique, beat-based music with heart would do well to check out Not For Nothing.

Thomas Quinlan