The Quickening / Always

production: oddisee, shuko

year of release: 2004

side one: 1. Always (Radio); 2. Always (Instrumental); 3. Always (Acapella);

side two: 1. The Quickening (Radio); 2. The Quickening (Instrumental); 3. The Quickening (Acapella);
After the album "North To Northwest" (read the review) - which already came out back in 2003 and which featured the supreme "Sleep Walk" and "Ebony Sea" - SoulStice finally returns with a double A side 12". And not just in theory but in reality, as the 12" even has two different covers. But when you hold the sleeve with the opening to the left, "The Quickening" is on the front, even though the label calls it the AA side and "Always" the A side. Not that any of this matters though.
Your neck will be put in motion as soon as the first drum hits and the rhythm of "The Quickening" is put in motion. Oddisee sticks to some distinctive kicks to drive the song, while he puts forward a variation of the sample for the bridge after the second hook. Sometimes he strips the track to quick bass and drum moments, continuously playing with the elements, and grinding the most out of what he has available. SoulStice combines some self praising with an accusation or promise that there's not that many rappers that feel the need to rhyme and rap as much as he does. He shows this hunger with a couple of nice lines, a flow that got much better since 2003, creating a song that's half serious, half a postulate, and concluding with "it's hard turning dark to light / that's why the first line is always the hardest to write."
"Always" is a song that will get the crowd hype, not just because the lyrics actually addressing a fictional crowd. SoulStice keeps the track to good time rhetoric, as he's flowing, saying a little something clever here and there, saying something that's even a positive little jewel. All the element marbles he flicks about over a bouncy and orchestra heavy Shuko production. Yes, Shuko, another one of those producers you must look out for, cause soon enough they'll have done many of your favorite songs. And you're hard tempted to dislike this beat - and with it the whole song - as it does everything right, messes with the sample a little half the time, but also lets the sample go. And one sign of a good producer is when he changes the sample during the verse. Shuko does that but loops the thing during the hook. Now a lesser producer would have looped the orchestra all the way through.
So with us appreciating little details, you can tell that the record is good, and it makes you seriously fiend for more from all three people on here: SoulStice, Oddisee and Shuko.
review: tadah
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