sour suite, Star Phoenix (CAN)

The recent release of the Sour Suite EP is a landmark for Saskatchewan hip hop. It is the first time that a rap artist of this province has created an album on vinyl. Even more impressive is that soso (Troy Gronsdahl) has released the project under his own independent label.

“Untitled (Paralysis)”, opens the EP with a far from happy mood. Soso reflects on his inability to control the world around him. The feeling of the song is summed up in the verse “My brain is like a soggy bowl of cereal and even my cornflakes conspire against me”.

“Drink”, featuring Winnipeg’s John Smith (of Park-Like Setting) may be the strongest track on the album. The incisive lyrics make the listener forget what is going on in their surrounding environment. It envelops you and makes you question what you’ve always believed in.

“Blessed”, featuring Saskatoon hip hop pioneer Epic marks a drastic turn for the album. It is a highlight of the CD speaking of hope and the struggles of life.

“Loss”, deals with a suicidal person having a conversation with an answering machine. The background vocals of Heather Aitken haunt the listener as she crawls under your skin.

Most artists involved in the industry are skilled in one area; soso does not only stand out as a lyricist but as a producer as well. The listener can tell that this kid ain’t new to the game. What is so important about this album is that the lyrics feel so quick-witted and genuine. Soso does not hold back from expressing how he feels. His humorous approach adds colour to the black and white experiences of life. It inspires the listener to accept a different perspective on hip hop, and why shouldn’t it? If music doesn’t motivate you, what is the point in listening to it? The prairie west has been slept on, but sour suite will open up eyes and ears. The originality of this recording is displayed right from the beginning in the clear pictureless album cover. Soso’s beats and rhymes are innovative, meditative, and creative. This album provides invigorating hip hop from the heart and soul. To say the least, a very original album. Soso will inspire up and coming rappers to ignore traditional notions of what hip hop should sound like. The next generation will create music true to themselves: not to the bandwagon.

review by Curt Wagner