July 30, 2022

Strugglin' Souls - Manic Depression (1992)

*A photo of the cassette is included in the RAR file.

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: CVE 4133

© 1992 Crazy Vibe/Inchiban Records
In the 1980s and 1990s, Atlanta's Ichiban Records wasn't only a label -- it was also a distributor, and the list of R&B, blues, and rap labels that Ichiban distributed is quite long. One of the many labels that Ichiban distributed in the early '90s was Crazy Vibe Entertainment, a small company out of Akron, OH. It was in 1992 that Ichiban distributed this little-known release by Cleveland rap trio Strugglin' Souls. At the time, the rap scenes in Midwestern cities tended to have a variety of influences -- some Midwestern MCs were heavily influenced by West Coast gangsta rappers, and some preferred to be influenced by East Coast rap. Strugglin' Souls falls into the latter category; Manic Depression sounds like it could have been recorded by a hardcore rap group from New York, Philadelphia, or Boston. Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy are prominent influences, and many of the tracks are angrily sociopolitical. "Rough Neck Anthem," "Betta Dayz," the title song, and other tracks candidly address the harsh realities of ghetto life, and the MCs don't hesitate to talk about poverty, crime, unemployment, and violence. But as hard-hitting and sobering as Manic Depression is, Strugglin' Souls never gets into gangsta rap. The Midwesterners don't rap in the first person about thug life, and while their lyrics are angry, they aren't violent -- in fact, the album often laments black-on-black crime. Regrettably, Manic Depression turned out to be the only album by Strugglin' Souls, which wasn't in a class with Public Enemy or BDP, but still showed some promise on this decent but overlooked debut.

tags: strugglin souls, manic depression, 1992, flac,


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