I have a feeling that the members of The Soulquarians are going to make a hell of a comeback, and very soon. Just like you’ll read in the upcoming release of mathematic-jazz artist Robert Glasper’s new album, the trifecta that is Sa-Ra (or Sa-Ra Creative Partners) is back at it again.
These guys know how to define Neo Soul with the content that they put out every once in a while. This month, the boys had perfect timing in releasing their long-awaited second full length album, Nuclear Evolution: The Age of Love. The band says that their type of sound isn’t likely to get MTV play, but it’s unlikely that the members of the Soulquarians get a MTV run anyhow, and I’m sure they don’t really mind (there I go saying they are in the Soulquarians again…).
Comprised of members Om’Mas Keith, Taz Arnold, and Shafiq Husayn, the boys are responsible for some of my favorite neo soul tracks Star Warz, Hey Love, So Special, White!, and Bitch from both their early EP SetUps and Justifications and full length album The Hollywood Recordings. This album renews my faith that Sa-Ra is on point forevermore.
The two disc album starts out with a windy background with a voice copying the stylings of the Warriors classic line “Warriors, come out and play” to “Sa Ra, come out to space”. It might not be as funny as Dave Chappelle using it to say “breast milk, you make my day” whilst clanking empty glass bottles, but its badass all the same. After breaking into a funky 70’s sounding beat, we are treated to a song verse in Spanish (which I still haven’t deciphered) before trailing off into the rest of the album.
23 tracks is a lot of ground to cover, but I did pick out my favorites among the bunch, starting with the third track, I Swear, which talks about realizing that the love of Sa-Ra is so good that she (Noni Limar) has never felt that way before, she swears. The beat is dirty as hell, with a funky and catchy bass line; my weakness of course.
Gemini’s Rising, the tenth track, features the lovely Rozzi Daime, a vocalist who is not a newcomer to Sa-Ra’s work. The beat has what I THINK is a high pitched guitar, with an overall heavenly feeling to it. Rozzi Daime is perfect for Sa-Ra’s talent, with echoing voice making the perfect addition to the boys chiming in every once in a while on the track. My assumption is that Daime gets more than just Gemini to rise on often occasions.
Track twelve, White Cloud, is amazing, because it reminded me of Michael Jackson’s Captain EO, the badass 3-D experience that used to be at Disneyland (and has since been replaced with the lackluster Honey, I Shrunk the Audience). Rozzi Daime is back on this track to lend her talents with Lil’ Kenny to make me feel like we are out to save the world again.
The third track on the second disc has the raw beat entitled, Double Dutch, which has the first appearance of auto-tune this year that didn’t piss me off right away. I promise I wanted to grab a giant jump rope to do the dutch to this song in a funky manner, while out front with the neighbors.
But by far, the best track on the album is back on the first disc, and is entitled Love Czars. The tempo has the gritty pace that lets you really fill in the gaps with an amazing bass line and funky drums to team up on yo’ ass. “The L’s commin’” looms in the background while the boys get the live instruments and jam out on this nearly 8 minute track. Obviously the bass line is the best part for me; this time because I never knew where it and the guitar were going to go next. This is what neo soul, funk, and hip hop used to be about, and I feel like some artists have lost. Listen for the blissful chorus of “I’m takin’ you way out” while you’re at it.
This album is worth the digging I had to do at Amoeba Music in Hollywood to find it. I will be the first one to claim that Neo Soul is about to explode, and if you want to be in the know, then I recommended going out to space with Sa-Ra and take a look around.
Until next time my friends,