Soul Cannon
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Soul Cannon

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | INDIE

Baltimore, Maryland, United States | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos




..."Soul Cannon, winner of the City Paper’s Best Live Band award, proved that they earned their title. Considering the wave of amazing artists inundating the city that was no easy task but the boys from Soul Cannon continue to show us why they won every time they hit the stage." -

"Best Live Band 2010: Soul Cannon"

No disrespect to bassist Ryan Dorsey, but his decision to leave Soul Cannon a while back may have been the best thing that ever happened to the hip-hop band. Instead of replacing him, the remaining quartet tightened up and rearranged its sound, with keyboardist Jon Birkholz filling in the basslines and guitarist Matt Frazao incorporating more of his avant-garde background into the mix. The forthcoming album The Mixed Ape presents a bold, new studio sound for the band, but the stage is still where it whips up the most exciting noise, with Eze Jackson working his ass off both as a rapper and as an intensely charismatic frontman. - Baltimore City Paper

"IN THE STUDIO Soul Cannon – The Mixed Ape"

Just back from a show with Talib Kweli at Sonar, Soul Cannon is a hip-hop band that never rests. This weekend they will be hitting up World Cafe Live in Philly. They also just recently played a show with a local opera group, Rhymes With Opera which is part of the American Opera Project.

Soul Cannon’s The Mixed Ape is a record that simply redefines what a hip-hop band can be. They push boundaries and create rhythms and melodies that make you wanna dance yet also make you question. I hear elements of Tortoise and the Roots. It’s something you’ve never heard before. They are serious innovators.

That said, the guys in Soul Cannon are great. Eze is a serious MC who rhymes like no body’s business. Jon holds down the keys, but plays like no other keyboardist I’ve ever heard. Matt plays guitar so amazingly his guitar rarely sounds like a guitar. And Nathan’s sense of time is almost illegal. They are virtually unstoppable. Their record drops sometime this summer. But you can download 4 tracks from this record for free on their website.

Here are a few of my favorite tracks from their record. - Mobtown Studios Blog

"Party Like The New Year: Soul Cannon, the Get Em Mamis and Mania Music Group at the Windup Space, July 3"

The Windup Space doesn’t book hip-hop shows very often, but it’s proven that when it does, it gets it right. Saturday night’s bill was in many ways the perfect trio of acts to represent Baltimore rap at the venue: left-field and approachable enough for the Station North crowd, but still hip-hop to the core. Live rap band Soul Cannon has roots at the space–guitarist Matt Frazao co-curates the weekly Out of Your Head improv night–and it brought along the deliriously fun girl group the Get Em Mamis and the iconoclastic MCs of Mania Music Group to complete the bill.

Mania Music Group’s original three-man roster has been performing together as a group for about two years now, but shortly before the release of its new album, Welcome To The Audience, it brought female rapper Milly July into the fold. And though she fits well into the label’s established musical sensibility, Saturday’s set showed signs that it hasn’t quite worked her into the polished stage show yet.

She began the night with two solo cuts, with RapMan Ron G. playing hypeman, and the songs were solid, but some microphone feedback appeared to shake her confidence. And since much of the other material performed that night was recorded before her joining the group, she didn’t show up much for the rest of the set, except to come out and wave goodbye after the guys’ closing posse cut “Blown Out.”

The second rapper Mania featured was Dappa!! Dan Midas, the label’s most seasoned performer, and he showed his pedigree by pulling the crowd closer to the stage and turning heads with his new look–a mohawk and sleeveless denim jacket–before mocking his own Mr. T-like appearance. Ron G’s solo performance was more straightforward and no-frills, but still compelling, while Kane Mayfield’s goofball persona was on full display as he worked the crowd. Mania jumped all over its deep back catalog for the setlist, but the emphasis was on the just released new album, including guest turns by Greenspan and Soul Cannon’s Eze Jackson, respectively, on the singles “Study My Dreams” and “Love Thang.”

The Get Em Mamis suffered some technical setbacks during their performance, but the duo of Roxzi and Symphony didn’t let a skipping CD slow them down too much. Their rep for party-starting dance tracks is the emphasis on their new mixtape Pop, Rocks & Soda, and they leaned heavy on frantic beats such as “Over Here” and “Party Like the New Year.” But they’ve still got an ear for hard midtempo hip-hop, and their summer jam “Alpines Kickin’” got the crowd moving as well as any club anthem.

As good as the first two acts were, Soul Cannon undeniably owned the stage as soon as the band stepped on it. The quartet, featuring three instrumentalists fronted by rapper Eze Jackson, pared down from a five-piece after the departure of the founding bassist a year or two back, and somehow removing that element freed the band to get louder, leaner, and meaner. The sound now is a raw nerve, Jackson’s voice hoarse with urgency and emotion as he competes with the band for the audience’s attention, tumbling syllables over anxiously stuttering rhythms.

Soul Cannon played for more than an hour, animating both older songs, such as “Dilapidated Buildings” and “Sucked Out Of A Dream” from 2008’s debut Kaboom, and newer songs from the upcoming The Mixed Ape, with fresh new twists and energetic performances. Though The Mixed Ape emphasizes a more studio-crafted sound with programmed drums and synths, Frazao and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell made songs such as “2010 A.D.” and “emceeswannarap” more dynamic and confrontational, without falling into a predictable rut of rock/rap fusion. Unsurprisingly, the audience only wanted more when the band was ready quit, and it pulled out one more song, “Claps,” that was such a perfect marriage of Soul Cannon’s pop instincts and arty ideas that it’s amazing that it wasn’t in the original set list. - Baltimore City Paper Noise Blog


Being from Florida, I’m accustomed to an entirely different underground Hip Hop scene. I’m used to artists talking about hustling or making dance music and sometimes a combination of both. I’m a self proclaimed Hip Hop junkie so upon my arrival to Baltimore I went on a mission to explore the best of what the city has to offer. I quickly grew tired of hearing about gun shots, slick cars, dirty money and women. I wanted Baltimore to show me something with substance. A little bit of truth, if you know what I mean. That being said, I intend to thoroughly explore Baltimore’s Hip Hop scene from an outsider’s perspective. If we’re lucky, maybe we can learn a thing or two.

Recently I had the pleasure of being introduced to a band you all know as Soul Cannon. Turns out right after I started this story they won the City Paper’s Best Live Band award so publishing my first piece locally about them either speaks to my impeccable instincts or dumb luck or quite possibly both. Either way, I’m not surprised that they won the award.

“You’re likely to see all types of people at a Soul Cannon show from your regular hip hop head to a guy with an orange Mohawk” -Eze Jackson.
Fronted by Eze, Soul Cannon has a unique and polished sound which can be credited to the fact that three of the members are graduate of the Peabody Institute.

I’m in the habit of obsessively dissecting music so I went to their website and made my way through several tracks. What I realized was that it wouldn’t be accurate to describe this band in terms of where Hip Hop has been. Though they’re true to the roots of Hip Hop, Soul Cannon illustrates where Hip Hop is going. Their sound is like the perfect pot of gumbo. All the ingredients are fine by themselves but it takes the mix to make the art.

As for their live shows, rather than lazily pacing the stage like so many average MC’s, Eze and the rest of Soul Cannon deliver the goods. They’re more than just musicians, they’re entertainers. I’m certain the the City Paper’s ‘Best of Baltimore’ award was only the first in several accolades to come so catch this band while you can still see them in a small venue. I have a feeling it might not be long until they take the show global. Currently you can catch them in Baltimore, Philly and NYC as well as other East Coast cities from time to time. Check their website for the details.
( - What Weekly

"Soul Cannon is..."

Soul Cannon is not only comprised of extremely talented musicians and fronted by an intelligent, poetic MC, but they also bring a superior level of energy to everything they do. They had The Ottobar packed and rocking for their entire 45-minute set. When people weren’t dancing or nodding their heads, they were cheering in agreement with Eze’s lyrics. How often do you see an opening band cheered back onto the stage for an encore?

Most reviews I’ve read of the band speak to their Peabody training and the positive message they espouse. Obviously, these are important factors in what they do and are essential to their identity. What the reviews I’ve read fail to mention, however, is just how amazing their live show is. I’ve been to hundreds of shows over the years and it’s rare that I leave completely impressed with the show I’ve just seen. That’s how I felt driving home last night; even while those baselines were still dancing through my brain.

The thing I appreciate most about Soul Cannon’s songs is the honesty with which they are written. There’s never a chorus for the sake of a chorus or a hook just because that’s what hip hop songs are supposed to have. This is seen even more unmistakably in the lyrics. Eze’s words aren’t positive just because that’s what they should be. And even when he speaks of personal struggles or the problems affecting Baltimore, he does it in a way that is truthful and sincere, and without romanticizing or exploiting them.

If you were there last night, I’m sure you had just as much fun as I did. If not, make sure you come out and see these guys play. It will be well worth your time. -

"Baltimore's Best Kept Secret"

Soul Cannon began performing in the summer of 2006, when two long time friends, Eze Jackson and Ryan Dorsey, decided it was high time to start a band that is at once pure jazz tinged indie rock and political hip hop. As it stands, Soul Cannon are comprised of bassist Dorsey, MC Jackson, keyboardist Jon Birkholz, drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell, and guitarist Matt Frazao. Jackson’s rhymes hit right to the heart of every Baltimore denizen’s contention with the city: “I still love my ghetto.” Even further, his rhymes are surrounded by a killer rhythm section that alternates between straightforward, backbeat-laden hip hop and Sonic Youth-esque noise and space drones. Their recent EP demonstrates only half of their ability as a group. Yeah, sure you can hear an ensemble that is so in synch with one another – they’re basically attached at the hip – but their live show really puts them head and shoulders above most of the acts riding on the coattails of the awkward Baltimore scene. - transformonline


I almost never post about something that I haven’t spent time getting to know, analyzing and appreciating before I decide to tell others to dedicate their time to doing the same.

Soul Cannon ‘Kaboom’Today’s post however took shape in a proverbial flash. I’d like to think that this newfound speed was influenced by the rapid-fire flashes of heat-fueled lightning which lit the New England sky outside my window just a few short hours ago. But the truth of the matter is that the music of Baltimore, Maryland-based five-member Hip-Hop band Soul Cannon, whose new album Kaboom I only discovered during the aforementioned lightning storm, is just dope enough to win my favor in such a short timespan.

The group’s press materials describe them as residing at “the intersection of bands such as The Roots and Deerhoof,” a comparison that attempts to encapsulate the band’s mix of live-band Soul and Jazz grooves, Indie/Alternative Rock experimentalism, and politically-minded, punchline-laden Rap vocals. My gut instinct is to dismiss such comparisons as over-simple Public Relations hyperbole. But vocalist MC Eze Jackson does get his Black Thought on a little something over an easy-strolling soulful Jazz strut reminiscent of Do You Want More?!!!??!-era Roots (if they indulged in psychedelic freakouts mid-song) on “Authority.” And though I wouldn’t necessarily compare it to Deerhoof, the cacophony of screeching Rock guitars and crashing drums Eze spits his fiery rhetoric over on “Phrases” could certainly garner comparisons to Saul Williams‘ hybridized output, if not that of bands like Dragons of Zynth, TV On the Radio, et al.

The rubbery grooves, repetitive chords and melodic changes on tunes like “Hands High” and “Soul Slammin’” on the other hand sound like the band was trying to recreate the production style of mask-wearing producer/emcee MF Doom with live instruments. Both tunes which find Eze dropping verses more concerned with touting his skills, casting doubt upon those of his competition and moving the crowd rather than the socio-political commentary that dominates his lyricism for much of the album. While he balances a bit of both on “Dilapidated Buildings” — a Summery slice of jazzy Rhodes-fueled Soul that gives the band a chance to deliver on the promise of their name — and “Verbal Intercourse” — a syrupy Psyche-Jazz jam — respectively.

The album is available from iTunes, which should allow you to get it into your ears quicker than it took me to decide to post about it. But if you like to take your time with things, and don’t mind waiting for good old-fashioned mail order, a CD version is available directly from the band. - Blogarhythms

"Can't Stop Fanatics"

Live instrumentation is the way of the walk. A few posts back i reviewed The ArtOfficial album, Fist Fights & Foot Races. I eulogised then about the wonders of what The Roots used to do best (that's right). Kaboom is a slightly rockier outing than Fists Fights & the varied tempo of the album keeps things interesting. There are droplets of harmonies & spoken word in here too from MC Eze Jackson (nice name). He & the other 4 members of the group create great soundscapes for Eze to ride on. As for my personal standouts on this one. The smooth Jazz Rock stylings of Dilapidated Buildings & the multi guitar driven Soul Slammin', are my favs. But a special mention has to go to Get Serious & the Lit fuse that is Phrases. Definately money well spent. Peep the taster then give em a heads up on their myspace - Can't Stop Fanatics

"Any Given Tuesday"

With a live show often compared to The Roots (though there are a lot of live instrumental hip hop acts out there, if you stop sleeping!), Soul Cannon is analog indie hip hop that you can get down with no matter your scene. Check out "What's Real" and tell me you disagree. If your spirit isn't lifted by this song, go back to your emo records and keep sleeping. - Any Given Tuesday


"The Mixed Ape," coming soon
Kaboom - April 2008 (Morphius Records)



Soul Cannon never stops pushing the boundaries of musical creation, both on the stage and off. A 4-piece hip-hop band consisting of three conservatory-trained jazz musicians and the most dynamic emcee in Baltimore, Soul Cannon’s music captivates hip-hop heads and music intellectuals alike. Recently named “Best Live Band” by the Baltimore City Paper, the group electrifies audiences at its shows with a combination of constant innovation, unparalleled collaboration, and pure sweat.

This special chemistry all began when forward thinking Baltimore emcee Eze Jackson linked up with three musical crossbreeds who came from across the country to attend the Peabody Conservatory. Unbeknownst to them, the four members had been brought together by a force larger than their individual selves, allowing them to forge musical connections and possibilities that have never been heard but have always been felt by true lovers of music. This radical element has already put Soul Cannon together onstage with renowned acts such as Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Hi-Tek, Jay Electronica, People Under The Stairs, Busdriver and Grand Buffet.

Soul Cannon is fueled by a musical fire that is sure to ignite the dry grassy brush and bullshit of today's Hip Hop landscape. They have released one album, Kaboom!, and their new self-produced album, The Mixed Ape, is pushing the music into an entirely new dimension. Written, recorded, and mixed on one computer using no live instruments, The Mixed Ape offers a look into a wholly different side of Soul Cannon's musical vision. Is hip hop dead? Maybe it's only bleeding. With tourniquet in hand, Soul Cannon is blazing the trail to a realm of new musical potential: a realm where hip hop is no longer a genre known for relentless repetition, but as an optimal vehicle for lyrical and musical artistry. Their efforts to capture this potential sonic state have resulted in The Mixed Ape, a clear expression of the musical fertility in Hip Hop as a genre, and of Soul Cannon as a band.

So what's next? The band is looking forward to releasing The Mixed Ape and to get back in the studio again to start recording their next album, which is written and ready to go. In the meantime, you can count on Soul Cannon's continued commitment to throwing down as hard as possible, every time, at every show. If you want to know what it means to leave it all on the stage, Soul Cannon will show you. Look for them at and on the road. For booking inquiries or information contact