In the world of music, band members doing solo projects or side projects is nothing new. The fact that some groups stay together for any significant length of time is impressive when considering the amount of ego and artistic differences that can emerge in such coalitions. As a creative, eventually you will reach a point where you will want to do your own thing without the permission of others. That and there is less people to split the cheque with.
The most prolific example of this in hip hop, if not all of music, is the Wu-Tang Clan and the subsequent solo projects from its members and affiliates throughout the 90s, 2000s, and beyond. That being said, the formation of a super group of artists who have generally built their catalog through solo works is a bit rarer. That’s why I was excited by the revelation of a Voltron-like formation of four upper echelon lyricists putting their heads together and galloping out of the darkness to an ear drum near you.
Enter the HRSMN
Emerging from the shadows these four MC’s come from a heavy hip hop pedigree boasting some of the most iconic acts in the history of modern music. It can be said that each of these MCs have spent time at the top of the heap through their solo and group projects. So, let’s quit beating around the burning bush and give you the 411 on this apocalyptic lineup.
There once was a time when Canibus was widely held as one the most ferocious MCs on the planet. With good reason. His gravely flow and pugilistic precision on the mic made him a force to be reckoned with and added a gold album to his trophy case. With a dozen or so album projects in his discography, from True Hollywood Stories to the Full Spectrum Dominance series, there is ample material for heads to dig deeper.
Possessing one of the most recognizable guest verses in hip hop history courtesy of Snoop Dogg’s Ain’t No Fun, Kurupt has been stealing the show on features for years and does some of his best work batting lead-off. LA native Ricardo Brown has been repping the West Coast and gracing microphones with his slick bars since his debut recordings with the S.O.S. Band. His relationship with Snoop Dogg and his group The Dogg Pound has cemented his legacy in the higher echelons of hip hop history.
As an affiliate member of the Wu-tang Clan, Walter Reed aka Killa Priest is no stranger to mystical music and group dynamics with thought-provoking verses that will have you searching for the nearest medical centre (especially if you’re in DC). Arguably the most iconic hip hop brand in the world today, the Shaolin boys have created over 100 albums through their nine Wu-tang LP’s and the numerous albums from its individual members. Killa has been hitting listeners in the dome piece through his spiritual and political wordplay for decades and is aptly fit for riding into the chaos on this latest project.
Ras Kass has been lacerating tracks with the truth since the late 90s and was woke long before the term entered the zeitgeist and lost some of its meaning. His 2020 album, Soul On Ice 2, featured a solid collection of joints featuring some of the game’s heaviest hitters including Snoop Dogg, Styles P, Everlast and Cee-lo Green. Never shying away from headier subject matter, Mr. Austin is widely hailed as one of the most intelligent wordsmiths in hip hop.
From what I can gather, this is an album comprised of unreleased tracks from the past several years with what I can only assume are some recent additions based on current topical lyrical content. It’s a dark and mythical boom bap experience, with each MC laying down bars with surgical precision over sample-driven production. This project lives up to the hype with its sonic sorcery and apocalyptic themes. Start with ‘Believer’.
It’s sure to make you one.
As great as this album is, there is a bittersweet component to it foreshadowed in the album’s title. After close to two decades creating tracks that were released on the individual members’ solo projects, unreleased, or ended up on 2014’s Historic EP, this is actually the group’s first full-length album.
And also its last.
Saddle up, dudes. It’s the the Last Ride.
JT Thirsk aka JT James is a DJ, producer and writer based out of Vancouver, Canada. A veteran of the DJ and recording worlds. he has produced several projects in the genres of hip hop and electronic music under various aliases such as James Divine, Track Nicholson and Sandy Villanova. When he’s not on the decks, in the studio or staring into a blank word document you can catch him at the beach, hiking through the forest or telling people how much yoga can change their life. Look out for his latest collaboration ‘Movement’ featuring Ras Kass dropping July 6th on all major platforms.
Movement Single: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/jtjames/movement