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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Band Hip Hop Soul


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"Review: “One to Grow On” The Sole Vibe"

Review: “One to Grow On” The Sole Vibe
– September 18, 2010Posted in: Reviews, The Sole Vibe

The Sole Vibe delivers the perfect mixtape for the title of “One To Grow On” because with so many MCs it’s definitely something you gotta take in a few times to really get the feel of everyone involved, and the result is a nice collection of material from a multitude of talent. With flowing production and a variety of styles you get a full plate consisting of everything from west coast vibes, to rapid-fast southern deliveries to straight up boom bap hip hop. Everyone will have a joint on here and they will all vary but you’ll definitely come away with some knowledge in all the sub-genres of hip hop.

After an impressive build-up the first track kicks in as AV unleashes a verse about being “Self Centered” but it comes off, over an amazing beat, as more of a reflection, lacking any of the arrogance that would turn a listener off. This flows perfectly into “Ring To It” from Mario Dones which boasts another incredible beat while Mario’s flow is straight bananas. Even though the production is definitely straight 2010, it got an old school feel to it that along with a dope hook really pushes it to highlight status. Up next is “Work” with a down tempo beat but with back and forth rapid fire rhymes from AV and Slo-Mo. The heat don’t stop as “What More Could You Want” got a memorable chanting hook with some classic samples on the beat and once again Mario Dones does his thing along with Kam Moye. “Pastries” is yet another one from Mario Dones who continues to prove that he’s definitely one of the better MCs in this deep roster as he goes in over a beat that’s rather strange but definitely works. “The Quiet” is a smoothed out head nodder that AV easily rides over while dropping metaphors and punchlines for days. The “Sole Vibe Interlude” has the feel of those Guru/Jeru/Lil Dap tracks on Gang Starr albums, with a different beat for each MC, all solid verses over solid production. “Slow Motion” is more of that boom bap soulful shit from Mario Dones that is perfect for them lazy afternoons.

As far as sleepers, “Bob Knight” got a pretty funny hook, but it’s only good once, and the rest of the track isn’t all that amazing. “Miss Jane” also drag a little bit, with a nice sample for the hook but a beat that’s too busy during the verses. The album also takes a huge dip towards the end, as tracks like “Reflections” and “Last Day of Summer” get skipped upon multiple listens, but by this point each artist has already proved they got the talent to quality songs.

For a mixtape with so many different artists “One To Grow On” really flows well, and the strengths of all MCs are highlighted in various forms, especially over the production from Keelay and Zaire, who are the shining beatmakers on this album. The Sole Vibe definitely got artists from many different influences but they all come together nicely for this project, each bringing their own style of hip hop to the mix. If you’re looking for a nice variety of hip hop from a diverse group of artists, then The Sole Vibe’s “One To Grow On” is definitely worth checking out, this crew definitely got a lot of potential and I’ll be looking forward to more material from them. 3/5 - RepPghHipHop.com

"The Sole of Hip Hop"

The Sole of Hip-Hop
If you're like me and you have friends that just so happen to have an enigmatic presence about them that exudes best when art is being created, then when you get the chance to see them in their purest element you tend
to get a bit excited. Such was my excitement when I got the opportunity to see perform a group that I hadn't seen in nearly five years. A friend of mine was performing at the Shadow Lounge this Friday night (9 April) for the first time in a long while and I had the distinct honour of being made privy to such happenings. Now, as it was the Shadow Lounge, I wasn't inclined to miss the opportunity to be wrapped in velvet and hip-hop no matter who was performing. So, when I sat down, rum and Coke in hand, I could feel the flutters of anticipation begin to well up inside me.

Curtain up...

Welcome to the stage Nick Pratt. As an opening act, I couldn't have been more satisfied. This man never fails to impress and always leaves me spellbound. Fearless and ferocious, he eats the stage alive without pretence and with all the bravado in the world. But don't mistake him for a high school poser --a toy with missing parts. He loves to sport this lifestyle! Every performance --whether opening act or main event-- is a love note to hip-hop.

What came next actually surprised me to giggling. Sometimes I find myself in the midst of greatness and tend to get a bit overwhelmed. In the case of Franchise, I was surprised by his greatness --for as it was a shocking revelation, I was somehow ready for it. The ability to caress the audience and still keep your integrity as an artist is no easy feat. I raise my glass to Franchise and hope that he maintains his connection to the audience without sacrificing what it truly means to be an artist. There's absolutely nothing wrong with giving the crowd some music to bounce to. What Franchise accomplishes is keeping the beat fresh and keeping the lyrics as true to the craft as possible.
- Camiele White

"Interview: The Sole Vibe"

The Sole Vibe released "One To Grow On" in September as emcees, Mario Dones and AV are both working on their upcoming solo projects. "One To Grow On" showcases Dones and AV over production from every Sole Vibe producer and newcomers, Lazy J, P. Fish and Nice Rec. While The Sole Vibe sound continually evolves, AV and Mario look now to share their distinct voices with the world. S.O.U.L. Magazine got the chance to pick the brains of these two, being part of the collective.

Can you tell me in short what The Sole Vibe stands for?

MD: The Sole Vibe is all about supporting the concept of family and creating quality music. Keelay and The Whooligan started the movement in the Bay Area, promoting their production and rocking parties the way they wanted to. We're progressive and comprehensive [laughs]. That's our Vibe.

How would you describe the music that The Sole Vibe makes?

AV: Music for thugs and pretty ladies. Really the music covers such a wide spectrum, but it all comes from a place that's very personal—for all of us. Plus I think we all really care about putting out quality material. It can be a burden sometimes, as this new project has been a long time coming. But we made it sound right. Quality is most important.

The past few years The Sole Vibe has been putting out projects, also featuring a few established names. With a collective of an amount of talents, how is the working process towards a project?

AV: Interesting...it's been kind of a different experience each time. With The Appetizer we put out in '07, I was a fresh inductee in the Sole Vibe, everything was kind of new still. But it was very collaborative between us all. Then Keelay and Zaire put out Ridin' High and that was basically their project. They had a whole concept and direction for each track. The new project is probably the most personal for me just because I worked closely with Mario to make everything happen. I was involved in the whole process this time.

MD: Right, each project really calls on different people. With Ridin High, Kee and Zee reached out heavily to me, Fish, Slo – we all had a lot of input on that project. It was theirs, but it was something we could all be proud of. The same can be said for all of the individual projects. It really just depends on the direction and timing, then we can assemble the cast of characters.

You two have just released “One to Grow On”. How did that come about?

MD: It came out of urgency. I'm really big on presentation, so I don't really want to align myself with a lot of the new age ways of promoting yourself as a rapper. I didn't want to put out a bunch of mixtapes and loose songs and have an album waiting in the wings. But, I'm not dumb either. An artist has to promote and perform and you have to have material out to do either effectively. I'm working on my album, but I had a lot of songs that I knew weren't going to make it and I was trying to figure out how to package them. Ace was in a somewhat similar situation and as a crew all of the producers and everybody involved really wanted to get the material out there. So it all just kind of came together as it needed to. The title can be taken literally.

AV: Exactly. I also just want to mention that the first two tracks on the project, Self Centered and Ring To It, came together so perfectly and from that point on we knew our idea had really grown into something. We wanted these songs to feel like one song together. Kee and Zee took the same sample and flipped it their own way and just killed it. They're credited together in production for both tracks but I'll let you guess who made which beat.

What do you expect the feedback will be? Or has the response already been what you’ve expected from it, after the release?

AV: I consider myself realistically optimistic so, to me the feedback has been very positive so far. It's nice when someone I don't personally know reaches out to say they're feeling the music. It's all about reaching back though, reaching as many people as possible to create that response.

MD: The response has been great...I hoped after people heard it they would want to hear more, and I think we hit that goal.

What do you feel separates The Sole Vibe from other music groups?

MD: Well, we're definitely more of a crew or collective than a group, but I think what separates us is that we weren't really brought together like most people who do music together, were. We didn't all grow up together. It's no neighborhood shit. It's more like quality controlled umbrella. We're a network of artists working together and helping each other be heard.

AV: And we make that slap.

Consisting of all individual artists, how do you decide to put a project out under the group name or as a solo project under your own name?

MD: All of the projects under The Sole Vibe name were Sole Vibe decisions. Like, The Appetizer was just something we decided that we needed to do at the time, so we focused all of our attention on it. With One to Grow On, everyone basically looked at me and Ace and the music and said we needed to put something out – so we did it. Voltron only forms when necessary, we all will be holding our own for the most part.

Do you see The Sole Vibe expanding even more in the future?

AV: The Sole Vibe family will continue to grow of course, but there will always be that kind of deeper relationship between those of us that were part of it from the jump. It's crazy thinking about the homies out in the Bay, how we first came together and just connected on this level. That's what it's about.

MD: Right...Blood or not, we're family oriented. Our expansion is always natural. As our relationships grow with people we pull them in, whether it be official or unofficial.

What is the advantage, as an artist, to be part of such a collective?

AV: Mannn, so many advantages.. it keeps you in check and it keeps you on your toes at the same time. Finding inspiration can be a tricky thing, but having these artists around who I consider some of my best friends, who I respect so much musically, is a real motivator. We all have each others backs.

Do you see The Sole Vibe touring the US or the world as a group or is it more likely that a few artists will collaborate on a tour?

MD: Realistically, I think it's more likely that a few of us collaborate on our touring efforts, at least in the near future. Like, I want me and AV to go out to the West coast and do some shows with Fortilive and/or Grillade. But, that may be all it takes for EVERYONE to get involved. I want it to happen, it's just all about financing at this point.

AV: I hope we all get together and do a 365 day world tour, bring everyone with us. Every year.

What projects does The Sole Vibe have coming up in the near future?

MD: The collective probably won't release anything official for a while, but I think we're going to be doing some compilation style mixtapes. But in terms of all of our artists, there's a lot going on right now. Slo and Mush are working on wrapping the Fortilive album with Illmind, Fortilive VS The World. I spoke with Keelay yesterday, he's working on an instrumental project as well as working on the Grillade album. I'm working on my debut solo album, and AV is working on about 3 things at once.

For people that are now hearing about you guys for the first time, what is one thing they absolutely have to know about The Sole Vibe?

MD: All of us are doing what we do out of love and respect for our crafts. We don't have gimmicks but we don't really have any boundaries either.

AV: This is a group of cats that all really really care about music. Put it this way – you tell someone to play a certain song, then like a minute into it they turn the music down to say something...guaranteed every person in The Sole Vibe hates that. Music is the activity for us. We create it and we are super fans of it. That's like unstoppable right?

www.thesolevibe.com - S.O.U.L. Magazine


The Sole Vibe - The Appetizer Mixtape (2007)
Keelay & Zaire - Ridin High (2009) - Featured on tracks "Take a Ride" and "Wake Up."
The Sole Vibe - One to Grow On (2010) - This project focuses AV's material as well as Mario Dones. It includes the singles "Been Around the World" and "The Quiet". Download @ http://thesolevibe.bandcamp.com



AV lets his music to do the talking for him. The emcee born and raised in Pittsburgh has always been a perfectionist with his art. Also a visual artist and the son of a mutli-instrumentalist, AV was raised with emphasis of crafting good songs. Whether searching for the right feel to an instrumental or the right bars for his verses, AV takes pride in crafting music that sticks to the listeners.

Around the city and within The Sole Vibe, AV is respected for superior lyricism regardless of the subject, and his freestyles that have controlled ciphers since high school. In addition to solo work, AV has worked with childhood friends and fellow Sole Vibe members, E. Jenkins and producer, J. Fish, who together make up The Ave.

AV’s poetic and vivid writing has been showcased on The Sole Vibe project, The Appetizer, Keelay & Zaire’s Ridin’ High and a host of other guest appearances. Ace also has music from The Ave and solo material appear in promotional campaigns for Homegrown Outfitters and featured in the video game NBA 2K7.

AV’s songs, both solo and with The Ave are featured alongside Mario Dones’ music on The Sole Vibe’s summer of 2010 release, One To Grow On.

AV is now taking his time to make sure his solo projects are flavored with his homegrown wit and lyricism. To stay up with Ace and his movements, check his crew’s official website, www.TheSoleVibe.com.