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Murda On The Mic

Ever since his recent telephone experiment, I’ve been revisiting Sol’s extensive back catalogue. Here’s Murda on the Mic, a 2008 debut ep from the then 19-year-old Sol. It’s a killer first release, low-fi and raw, containing a brashness that’s softened and become more polished in his recent work. For me, it’s exactly this early, gritty sound that makes these seven songs so special, finding just the right arcs between serious and funny, nudging your mood a degree or two off-center and in unexpected directions. Take, for example, the flute solos in “Rock On.” These should be cheesy, and maybe they are, but Sol and a funky guitar move you in a way that convinces you that flutes are cool. You come away wondering why, honestly, there aren’t more flute solos. Or the grand, orchestral “Never Thought” that features doubled and tripled vocals doing call-and-response, and choral singers, too. This song and “Tomorrowless” remind you of the moments you love in Kanye’s early work: Energetic, assertive experiments dripping with talent.

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