December 28, 2019

Rough House Survivers - Straight From The Soul (1992) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
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☠: Selected by Sentinel
© 1992 Relativity Records
AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart
One might surmise that an album produced by Tony Dofat and including guest appearances from C.L. Smooth, Sadat X, and Grand Puba Maxwell, all at the height of their rapping powers, would be a solid hit waiting to happen. Such was not the case with the Rough House Survivors' sole record, Straight From the Soul, but it is not for lack of appeal. Indeed, the album disappeared without leaving any vestiges despite the fact that it was incredibly catchy and artistically successful. The work of Pete Rock seems to have exerted quite an influence on Dofat's strong production, especially in the rocksteady drum and cymbal patterns, mellow Saturday-afternoon organ, creamy basslines, and the goofball shouts and horn loops that percolate disorientedly beneath the music on stellar cuts such as "Take a Trip," "Can U Dig It?," "We Come to Get Wreck," and the straight burner "Once Again." Although this almost plays as a lost Rock production, the music deviates enough from the template to develop its own alternately upbeat and mellow, distinctly New York City vibe, and Straight From the Soul further distances itself through the loose, insouciant flows of rappers Kev, Roberto, and Dread One (DJ Swinn being the fourth member of the crew). They borrow the give-and-take rhyming of Leaders of New School and the buoyant, all-for-one lyrical energy of Brand Nubian's first album; then they step on the accelerator just slightly and blend it all into an incessantly contagious and singular style. Only the group's foray into ragamuffin reggae ("Rough House") doesn't quite come off. But in the freestyle-like session of "Check Da Back Pack" and the legitimately swinging "So! Survivors We Can Rhyme," Rough House Survivors create a duo of songs which can easily stand with anything from the era in hip-hop, and the rest of the songs aren't far behind. Unfortunately, only a few people ever seemed to find that out.

tags: rough house survivors, straight from the soul, 1992, flac,

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