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EARGASMIC ARRANGEMENTS (2003)
Eargasmic Arrangements - Click to view! It is not easy to briefly sum up the career of (Christian) hip-hop legend, Soup the Chemist. His 15 years of service have seen him work with Freedom of Soul, front the popular SFC crew and, most recently, record solo material. After the entertaining Illumination (SFC, 1994), his downbeat solo LP on Uprok Records, Dust, was a disappointment to many fans. Since parting ways with Uprok, Soup has gone back to the lab, for the last time. Eargasmic Arrangements is the final kick at the can, with hopes of finally gaining the mainstream market's attention. This latest offering is clear proof of Soup's ability to create quality material, something we've seen for a long time.

The album's single "All over the world" is an enjoyable blend of thick bass lines, airy key samples and full drums. The lyricism is on this album is top notch and the opening number is a mere sampling of his skill.
"Wild like Apache / Tomahawk in hand / Mad 'cause you trespassed on my land / Due to Napster I'm known in Japan / Australia and Spain / For rocking microphones and giving praise to God's name / I'm trying to take over the game like Pinky and the Brain."

Soup also works to bring many talented artists together for this disc. LA Symphony's J-Beits crafts a high-energy beat ("Ego Trippin'") that Soup and underground emcee Murs rip to shreds. Paying respect to intelligent writing, "Word Play" features creative verses from Aloe Blacc and Future Shock's Sojourn. On the third verse, Sojourn spits wisdom about Christians ministering through hip-hop: "The fruit of my labour is your rest on the Saviour / If you don't choose now you'll learn later / I'll leave it at that / No need to feed a sermon on the track / I just plant a seed and let the Spirit do the rest." "Soul Music" is a dream collaboration with Manchild (from Mars Ill) and Sharlock Poems (LA Symphony) as the emcees express the desire to bear their souls on the track. This is an enjoyable finale to a disc chock full of excellent writing.

The beats on Eargasmic are not far behind. Soup himself produces eight of the fourteen songs with definite success. The title track fuses acoustic guitar and electronic sounds over a 6/8 beat. This rare tempo is negotiated very well by Soup, who asks some challenging, introspective questions. An Eastern influenced guitar and live trumpet carry the summer-night jam "Loving You." Cookbook (also from LAS) who rhymes on that track also brings his production to "Soul Music." Other guest producers include bless one ("Starving Artist"), DJ Gabe Real ("Turntablist"), and mystro's commercial remix of C.A., featuring Joey the Jerk and Dr. Oop.

With all the talent and solid tracks on this disc there is one glaring flaw. Several of the songs deal with Soup's frustration of not getting paid despite his skills. While many emcees carry that grievance around, Soup probably deserves to complain more than anyone. However, by tracks 12 and 13 the grumbling gets old and the songs become slightly stale. Fortunately, this does not overshadow the outstanding overall effort of this album. Eargasmic overflows with skill and is a great example of artistry to an industry that always needs solid material. Cop this album and support a legend who has led the way by putting his heart into his work, striving for true artistry.
- Jon Corbin
July 2003
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