sour suite, HHI (US)

Most Canadian hip hop artists I’ve been exposed to thus far have shared one common attribute: originality. The work of Sebutones, The Goods, Josh Martinez, and the Peanuts & Corn collective could hardly be labeled as anything but creative. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Soso also shares this trait with his countrymen. Soso’s Sour Suite EP is highly original, as well as exceedingly sincere.

“Untitled (Paralysis)” opens up the EP effectively, as Soso lets the listener know that he, too, has feelings of inefficiency and inadequacy every now and then. He sounds determined, though, so you’re not that surprised when he says: “I exist, I have purpose, I have worth/ there’s value in my words, what I do matters.” Making you wonder if it’s really the pressure of society that drives Soso, and people in general, to think lesser of themselves than they should. Simple drums and a subtle acoustic guitar work well as the backbone of the track.

Park-Like Setting’s John Smith appears on “Drink.” Soso’s production is on point once again, powered by a nice sampled hook and a melodious guitar. Both emcees reflect on their relationship with alcohol, with Soso’s verse making an especially indelible impression, as he ponders if the consequences of drinking are worth whatever benefits it may bring about.

A sparkling piano and elaborate drums set the mood for “Blessed”– quite evidently the best song on the EP. Guest Epic sounds refreshingly original with his unique delivery, and both emcees come off extremely sincere expressing their gratitude to their fathers for raising them, and providing a figure to look up to. Yet again, Soso gives you something to think about particularly with his moody, last verse, where the relationship he discusses isn’t all that positive.

The three vocal songs are followed by an instrumental track called “Dust.” Though the progressive flutes keep the listener happy for a few minutes, the basic drum track and dull bassline make the joint drag quite a bit towards the end. “Swan Song” also deserves a mention, mainly due to the interesting vocal snippets, and the little rhyme Soso drops just after the song has reached its middle point.

Soso reaches a certain feeling, a distinct mood, with the Sour Suite EP. There’s nothing too fancy about the record, and that’s how the totally unique sound of the EP is attained– by focusing on nothing but the barest of essentials. Soso doesn’t impress with complex styles, or a commanding presence, but rugged beats, original concepts, and a remarkably honest outlook on life. Fans of The Grouch, Peanuts & Corn, and Halifax hip hop will most likely be feeling this solid effort.

Best Cut: “Blessed”
Peter Matekovits,