What To Do? Thursday's Pick: Left Fest w/ Souls of Mischief

Categories: What to Do
Souls of Mischief
Left Fest w/ Souls of Mischief @ Mezzanine

Oakland rap quartet Souls of Mischief is most fondly remembered for a 1993 hit. Prince Paul is a legendary oddball production Svengali from Long Island who also goes by the aliases Chest Rockwell and Filthy Pablo. The idea of holing them up together in a rented house on Montezuma Street in Marin County for a month sounds like a particularly wretched reality TV premise. But for the Souls, the scenario was a way to channel its energy into the most potent music they have made since breaking onto the national stage with "93 Til Infinity." It's an outcome the crew achieved by conceding a chunk of creative control to Prince Paul, whose quirky vision helped craft De La Soul's first three albums. He acted as executive producer on Montezuma's Revenge, Souls' fifth album, which was released in December to a favorable response from critics and bloggers.

With ego dominating rap music, it's rare to find hip-hop artists willing to submit to the guidance and criticism of an outsider. This is despite the rich history of classic albums being crafted under the counsel of a singular hand. In the '80s, Marley Marl conjured up a magical run of cornerstone East Coast rap projects for Juice Crew members MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, and Roxanne Shante. Whether masterminding the rise of N.W.A., Snoop Dogg, Eminem, or 50 Cent, Dr. Dre is a proven master at controlling the destiny of others. On the flip side, the usually critically unimpeachable the Clipse caught its first middling reviews for Til the Casket Drops, the duo's only album not exclusively produced by the Neptunes. It's to Souls' credit, then, that, despite being Bay Area recording veterans, they were humble enough to recognize the benefits of embracing the Prince Paul regime.

Souls of Mischief perform tonight as part of Left Fest at Mezzanine. ($15, 9 p.m.)

To read more on Souls' work with Prince Paul, click here.

For more Thursday entertainment options, check out our calendar recommendations.

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