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Montezuma's Revenge

Souls of Mischief

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Album Review

From the top down, Montezuma's Revenge has the feel of a comeback: bicoastal golden era vets unite for a stab at post-Kanye relevance, name record after indigestion, etc. The catch, of course, is that neither Souls of Mischief nor Prince Paul went much of anywhere. They've been steadily releasing records throughout the aughts. All of which leads one to view Montezuma's Revenge as a cash grab between faded icons, which it may well be, but if so it's one of the best variety in that it fundamentally works without being workmanlike. These guys still have all their charms intact: wry, winning mike tosses from the four MCs over Paul's typically effective production, intercut by stoopid skits that counterintuitively maintain momentum. The aqueous "Tour Stories" is probably the collaboration's high point, all shimmering vibes, steady boom-bap, and the type of easygoing story-raps that went out of style a long time ago. More Del and Tame One than GZA and DJ Muggs, Montezuma's Revenge is the opposite of a comeback — a stay-put, maybe, right back in the halcyon '90s.

Biography

Formed: Oakland, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s

The East Oakland backpacker crew are members of the loose underground hip-hop consortium known as Hieroglyphics. The group consists of four erudite but hardcore MCs: A-Plus, Phesto, Opio and Tajai. Their debut album in 1993, '93 Til Infinity, produced an early-'90s anthem of the same name and spawned a movement towards bohemian yet rugged hip-hop. The crew drew comparisons to De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest for their abstract, whimsical style of storytelling. '93 Til was a youthfully impressionistic...
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Montezuma's Revenge, Souls of Mischief
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