the blackSoil project
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the blackSoil project


Band Hip Hop R&B


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The best kept secret in music


"Indy Spins—Volume 2"

While most rappers are happy to spin tales about a fantasy gangsta's paradise, Rahlo of the blackSoil Project looks above the blinged out culture of conspicuous consumption for lyrical inspiration. The music he and DJ Level create on “the calm before the storm" reflects a strong desire to return consciousness and meaning to hip hop. This album brings back all the things people miss about golden age hip hop, such as interesting beats, intelligent lyrics and songs with meaning, and still sounds progressive. There are echoes of classic records by BDP and Brand Nubian in “the calm before the storm” yet it manages to sound modern and unique.

Not only is “the calm before the storm” some of the best local hip hop I've heard, but this is simply one of the best rap albums I've heard yet this year. Lyrically, Rahlo puts a lot of heart and soul into these songs and is quite a talented wordsmith. His smooth clear delivery meshes perfectly with the intricate and moody music and the songs sounds like complete compositions rather than someone just rapping over a track. Though the beats on “the calm before the storm” are powerful, this is an album that is more for listening than dancing and unlike so much modern hip hop it's a strong album all the way through. -

"blackSoil project ep review by Dustin Gyzm"

Last week, my networking efforts dropped one of the best local EP's in my lap that I've had the pleasure of hearing in a LONG time. It's in a genre that is normally NOT my bag of pleasure..HIP-HOP .

What comes to mind when you hear the words Hip-Hop??? ALL STEREOTYPE"S are NOW tossed aside !! There is an increasing amount of rappers out there who CAN get through a whole album WITHOUT swearing, degrading women or smoking a joint. This is one of them..

The blackSoil project's EP, Ulterior Motive, is the deepest, dopest hip-hop that this DJ has ever had the pleasure of experiencing.. It is absolutely ADDICTIVE !!

Beginning with the first track "blackTones" , the EP begins the building of momentum by focusing on a short guitar/scratch ensemble. The production talent has already started to shine. This track is a little short, but that's commonplace for intro's.

The second track, i.r.o.C., just begins to let in you in on the talent that is available here. The piano samples are very catchy and draw you into the track. The electronic samples included in all of these tracks are appropriate and fit into the scheme of things well. Like most good hip-hop songs, it's three or four listens before you start to catch the complexity and depth of the lyrics and you are then drawn in further. By the end of this track you have started to notice the difference between the blackSoil project and typical hip-hop acts.

Track three, "Onanon" , starts us out with Ms. Tasha's prime intro and leads us into Ryan Officer, soulheir the man child and rahlo's in-depth discussion of life. Again, the electronic samples flow well together with the rapping. The abrupt breaks at the start of the track beg to be expanded on. This track is the longest on the EP and could easily go 10 minutes if re-mixed.

As a Christian, I was curious to hear what Rahlo's "New World Order" (track 4) entailed. The first part of the story is spit by an Eminem sounding rapper that gets the mood flowing. His aggression is conveyed through his voice.  He's not mad at the world, but he is fed up with the entroaching evils of our world and how they are expressed through alot of the music put out today.  Eminem is not named specifically, but I'm guessing he's one of the main  targets of his rant. The layers of vocals are THICK and by the time I heard this track I was hooked. The chorus is catchy and once you listen to this  track a few times you'll find yourself reciting the words while cleaning the   house. "New World Order" would be my pick for the best song on this EP.

It's track 5 before any impressive turntablism is again revealed.
Exodus 1 capitalized : the mainly narrative second book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scripture 2 : a mass departure .... This is also the one track that has all the vocalists singing in harmony.

Any good DJ knows that good music must flow. A CD, like a set, should flow and have an introduction, a climax, and a resolution. It's obvious that this was accounted for in the production of this CD. It flows WELL from start to finish, but also leaves you ready to do it again.

If I was left short by anything on this CD, it was only that it isn't long enough. I'm not counting minutes ..but I would guesstimate a half an hour, which is not nearly enough to satisfy the craving once hooked.

The Ulterior Motive EP will undoubtedly make my top ten list for the year. Whether you like hip-hop or not, do yourself a favor and check it out. -

"Indianapolis Star Review"

The Blacksoil Project, "The Calm Before the Storm."

by Dave Lindquist

"The Calm Before the Storm" is an album about being a father and being a son.

MC rahlo rhymes about the former on "It Ain't the Shadow": "It ain't the shadow, it's the substance that I'm after. Sometimes I hear it calling through my baby's laughter. Sometimes I hear it when my baby cries, urging me, 'Take a sip of the real before you die.' "

He concentrates on the latter on "Ebb and Flow," a tribute to his father who's passed: "Those ones here today? They could be gone tonight."

On these tracks and 11 others, the Blacksoil Project takes a humble, grateful and uplifting approach to hip-hop. Rahlo -- who says his mission is to challenge and entertain -- raps with a steady flow that's never artificially fierce or carelessly mellow.

DJ Level supplies the sonic diversity, whether he's showcasing his turntablist skills or adding a techno accent here and there. The orchestral samples on "The Revisitation (Psalm 23)" are reminiscent of tones heard on DJ Shadow's 1996 found-art classic "Endtroducing . . ."

Through its message and execution, "Calm" is one of the year's hip-hop highlights. But, as rahlo notes on "What We Do," there's a shortage of competition: "Even minimal light reveals the whole scene is pitiful. . . . This industry is growing crazy wide, but only three inches deep."

For more information, visit - Dave Lindquist


facts are backward: dead poet society
Raw Material: Mars Ill
ulterior motive ep: the blackSoil project
The Calm Before the Storm: the blackSoil project


Feeling a bit camera shy


Whether you love it or hate it, one thing is for sure: hip hop music evokes emotions that demand response. In the case of Rahlo, the innovative artist behind the blackSoil project, previous images, preconceptions and expectations of what a hip hop artist are do not apply. Confidently and without reserve, Rahlo gives a clear insight into himself and the dedicated messages in his music, which encompass his own progressive and experimental style.

Consciously choosing to part ways with the usual musical and song writing influences of his genre, Rahlo combines an eclectic love of different artists, genres, and time periods for his inspiration. Artists such as Mos Def & Talib Kweli, whose songs had an immediate connection through their sound and the depth of their lyrics; the Roots, who in the mid to late 90's were radically different in their use of a live hip hop band instead of a dat machine or dj; George Clinton and Parliament, who believed in having a good time with their music while rejecting any restrictions or confinement in their image and ideas; to Al Green who was simply and uniquely himself, and who believed in becoming a success on his own and in his own terms.

The Calm Before The Storm is the second release from the blackSoil project, and contains a collection of songs that focus on some of the elements of real life and how we live it. For example in 'What We Do,' Rahlo touches on how powerful the use of words are in our lives and how the mere use of them shape the relationships and the world around us. So often people use words to communicate to each other without first thinking or reflecting upon their true meaning or impact. This song is a call to action to concentrate on the message we want to communicate. Not for the short term benefits but for the long term enrichment.

In l.o.s.t (the law of space and time), he expresses concern over the fact that there are many who claim to understand the power of words and music, yet they choose to wield that power in ways that don't seem to benefit humanity. It's a statement or call to action to recognize that our actions don't take place in a vacuum, but that others are also affected by the things we think, do, and say.

And with that thought in mind Rahlo presents It Ain't the Shadow, in which the recent birth of his son prompts him to take a long hard look at himself and the person he has become, the shadows he has chased in his life, and what it all means. He even questions what to pass on—how does he prepare his offspring for this warfare that we call life?

The blackSoil project is not innovative because Rahlo has decided to create something musically different from other artists in his genre. The blackSoil project is innovative because of the way Rahlo explores questions surrounding the issue of freedom--true freedom. The freedom to be your own person, the person you were created to be. The freedom to be the best human being you can be and challenge others to do the same.

In a time when everyone is learning or defining what freedom means to them, can there be a better definition or explanation?