Single Review – Labeled – SOULEYE
Primary URL: http://www.souleye.net/
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Souleye labels his music as ‘conscious hip-hop’. It’s a powerful blend of R&B, rap and funk. It’s a bit difficult to identify a ‘best’ single track from his album “Shapeshifting”, but the closest you could come would probably be the track entitled “Labeled” – a sage, critical anthem about passing judgement before getting to know someone, and the resulting consequences.
Hip-hop with a spiritual or intellectual twist has certainly been done before, but the new single from Souleye entitled “Labeled” does it in a way that is fresh, artistic and unapologetic. The album “Shapeshifting” contains the track and features 10 more tracks, all of which are listen-worthy. “Labeled” is a melodically pleasing tune that has lyrics related to some fairly mature subject matter, including discrimination and violence. Here’s a quick excerpt from the track, giving you an idea of the kind of message that Souleye wishes to convey with this release:
“Loose cannons carrying hand guns /
Time bombs ticking ready to self-destruct
Your mind can be a land mine /
Just don’t give up”
In “Labeled”, we really see how well Souleye performs his lyrical acrobatics. His rhyming schemes and word choice fit well in a framework of catchy, upbeat rhythms and well-distinguished drums. The bridge in the song seems to incorporate an autotune effect, but it’s appropriate and well-timed. This single also offers a great opportunity for the listener to do some serious head-bobbing, because it runs with a great groove and a fun hook that keeps things interesting. The lyrics stay with the theme of being thoughtful and profound while the musicality never lacks. There is a certain honesty that comes with Souleye’s lyrics, and it takes a great mix of good accompaniment and professional production to bring everything together.
“Labeled” sits well within the other songs that showcase Souleye’s lyrical diversity. Elsewhere in his music, he takes on the subjects of mathematics, history, philosophy, shamanism, astronomy and even biochemistry. It’s not overdone though, and the perspectives that he offers are intricate enough to keep the listener engaged with the subject matter. Production-wise, the song is very well put together. There aren’t any real gaps in sound quality, and the mix of bass, drums and leads is done in a very clean way.
Fans of Eyedea, Eminem, Classified and Yelawolf will be especially drawn to the lyrical stylings contained in this track, and they will stay for the thought-provoking messages communicated partly through metaphor and partly straight to the face. Longtime fans of hip-hop will probably notice some influence from mainstays like Atmosphere or Swollen Members. There’s a genuine character that resounds in “Labeled” that is unique to the artist. If you enjoy intelligent, involved lyrical concepts that dig deep into the human psyche and confront potentially uncomfortable topics, you’ll love “Labeled”. Also, check out the rest of “Shapeshifting” for more quality cuts from Souleye.
Review by Bret Dianich