Memphis rapper Snipes has always tried to connect Memphis’ soul past and its rap present in a way that few rap artists other than Al Kapone have done locally. His shows were characterized by live musicians at a time when few known rap acts other than The Roots were doing that on a regular basis, and his label Overwater Entertainment had a roster that included singers as well as rappers. Setting him apart even more from many of his fellow Memphis rap artists was the often upbeat and inspirational nature of many of his songs. All of these trends are very much in evidence on The Classic Soul Project, a 6-song EP that is releasing today on Bandcamp. The six tracks, produced by Kingpin Da Composer, are all based around samples of soul songs that have an old and deep root in Memphis, such as the obvious single for the upcoming warm weather months “Summer Breeze”, based around the Isley Brother’s classic take of the Seals and Croft hit from the 1970’s. “Keep Steppin” is based around Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” and “The Approach” features a snippet from Willie Hutch as well as a rap verse from Memphis trombonist/band leader Suavo J. Finally, the closing “We’re Gonna Make It” is a positive and uplifting anthem that wouldn’t be out of place on gospel radio. As for the overall sound of the project, the combination of classic soul sounds and Memphis-style rap creates an atmosphere reminiscent of classic Eightball & MJG. The Classic Soul Project can be downloaded for a donation here.
I ate lunch at Pearl’s Oyster Bar downtown, and then headed out to Southbrook Mall, because my homeboy Snipes said his band A Touch of Soul was performing in the parking lot for the opening of some sort of discount mall there. A Touch of Soul proved to be a very talented young band, with a drummer named Otis Logan whose solo was one of the high points of the concert. Several rappers and singers performed with the band during the course of the hot summer afternoon.
On Tuesday November 27, BET’s Apollo Live came to Memphis for a talent showcase at the Ice Bar in Hickory Hill, and the winner was Overwater Entertainment CEO @Snipes901, who will be representing Memphis in New York. Visit http://www.snipes901.com/ for videos, or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Snipes901.
Snipes’ Friday night performance at Opinions in Memphis also featured Jason the Hater and a new hip-hop duo called One Hundred.
At the Snipes show Friday night, I caught back up with my best friend from high school, Jessie Yancey, who had been an outstanding tailback for Bartlett High School in the 1983 football season.