Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ras Kass' "Soul On Ice"

I honestly can't recall when and where I heard Ras Kass for the first time. I do know that from 1996 on forward, when underrated West Coast MCs are mentioned, his name is often mentioned, and with good reason. When it comes to lyrics and how he displays them, Ras Kass is on a totally different level, and it's that very style that has always set him apart from other artists on the West Coast. I decided to revisit this one, based off of a recommendation from a follower on Twitter. The last time I played this album I thought it was good, so let's see if time has been kind to it.



Release date- September 17, 1996




1. On Earth As It Is...
Produced By: Bird

Oh man, if I were to do a list of best album openers from 96, this would definitely make the list. There are so many quotables here that I can't even begin to name them all, lol. This is one of many songs that define who Ras Kass is and what type of lyrical level he was on, something not of this earth, plus it has that true 96 sound.
*5 out of 5*


2. Anything Goes
Produced By: Ras Kass

No matter whether it's legal or illegal, especially in terms of the chase for cash flow, anything goes in that environment. Kass goes a little deep with that theme here. Very good.
*4 out of 5*


3. Marinatin
Produced By: DJ Battlecat

 Kass comes off like a West Coast version of Big Mike on this smooth, laid back, apply titled song. It's catered to the ladies, but at this point in hip hop that was not an overdone thing.
*4 out of 5*


4. Reelishymn
Produced By: Ras Kass and Bird

The tight wordplay continues with this song, in which Ras Kass comes real with his.
  *4 out of 5*


5. Nature Of The Threat
Produced By: Vooodu

I don't think a song like this would see the light of day in today's hip hop world. At the time, Kass' views on religion, homosexuality, and race relations, just to name three, were deemed controversial, but considering things we have heard since then, it's rather tame in comparison. At 7:43, you would think it would simply drag along, but it doesn't. The beat and lyrics keep you entertained, informed and educated.
*5 out of 5*


6. Etc.
Produced By: Ras Kass and Bird

The first verse on this one was just incredible, featuring alliteration done so well with the letter "r".
*4 out of 5*


7. Sonset
Produced By: Ras Kass, Michael Barber, Michael Schlesinger and Reno Delajuan


"Psychologically I masterbate/Wit the hands of fate/And buss nuts on Mother Nature/Comin on ya landscape....."


Wow, and that's just one of many DOPE lines here. This wasn't a diss to the East Coast, but rather Kass showed and proved that MCs from the West could be just as lyrical. Must be heard to be appreciated, and as an admitted "East Coast head", I can say this was NICE.
*5 out of 5*


8. Drama
Featuring Coolio
Produced By: Ras Kass and Bird

 With Coolio on the hook as well as providing the third verse, both men talk about women and the drama that comes with some of them, not all, lol. Drama in any form is never pretty.
*3.5 out of 5*


9. The Evil That Men Do
Produced By: Vooodu

From issues to domestic violence, puberty, sex, trouble with the police, Kass gives his perspective on those very topics. You can say it's apply titled, because some of that evil is the direct result of the actions of men headed down the wrong path.
*4 out of 5*


10. If/Then
Produced By: Ras Kass and Michael Barber

 This punchline laden song is pretty good, with a touch of humor and seriousness throughout.
*4 out of 5*


11. Miami Life
Produced By: Ras Kass and Michael Barber

 In my view, this was more or less a "cool down" song towards the end. And it did seem unique that a California based artist would be talking about life on the other side of the country.
*3 out of 5*


12. Soul On Ice
Produced By: Bird

This was a very good title track, and it was a different move to place it near the end of the album.
*3.5 out of 5*


13. Ordo Abchao (Order Out Of Chaos)
Produced By: Ras Kass and Vooodu

This is not on the level of the opener, but in an effort to show you he's on another level lyrically, he closes the album almost in the same form he opened it.
*4 out of 5*



I basically feel the same about this album now that I did the last time I listened to it. It's an excellent album and like I mentioned throughout this review/revisit, Ras Kass is on another level lyrically. Speaking of the lyrics, if I were rating it on that alone this would be a 5 star album. Overall, I'll go with a solid 4 star rating. It was slept on very heavily, being released in the stacked year that was 1996. I'm sure he's still proud of the job he did on this album.

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