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Writings on the Wall

The elder statesmen of hip hop are hurtling toward us with fresh new cuts and old-school status. Souls of Mischief, Casual and Pep Love, who hit WOW Hall Wednesday, have been enjoying a year of progress and activity reminiscent of their days together in the Hieroglyphics super crew. 

Solo albums such as Casual’s He Still Think He Raw and Pep Love’s Rigmarole have kept the members of this Bay Area collective in the spotlight. Souls of Mischief, composed of emcees A-Plus, Phesto, Opio and Tajai, recently cranked out a brand-new sound with its newest album Montezuma’s Revenge. What’s even more impressive is that all of those guys also have their own solo albums that now thump through the hip-hop underground. 

It would seem that no one in the Hiero family sleeps much, which is fortunate for anyone still treasure hunting amongst the ruins of hip hop’s heyday. Yes, there are still gems out there, and not only are those diamonds still shining in forgotten caves but the market value of this good fortune has increased with the passing of years and environmental pollution.  

Going to a Souls of Mischief show, or seeing any of the Hiero crew perform, is a thing of beauty. These aren’t just emcees from another crew slowly emerging from the apocalyptic hip-hop netherworld; they are among the lyricists who set fire in the hearts of microphone holders who are, by definition, their underclassmen. Souls of Mischief and company make it look easy (and it’s not) in a way that all veterans do. A quick listen will bear this out, and a longer stay in the audience will solidify the writings on the wall. 

Souls of Mischief play with Casual and Pep Love 9 pm Wednesday, Aug. 8, at WOW Hall, 291 W. 8th Ave.; $13 adv., $15 door.