Posted: Wednesday – October 14, 2009
Those familiar with the NY underground hip-hop scene over the last decade are very familiar with the name Sha Stimuli. The Source’s Unsigned Hype alum has been widely regarded as “next up” by fans and insiders alike. Unfortunately, in the game of hip-hop, anticipation can soon turn to disappointment and industry politics seemed to have put a once promising career in jeopardy. It is said that the true mark of a man can be seen in how he responds when his back is against the wall and Sha Stimuli has responded with his long awaited debut album My Soul To Keep.
The intro sets the tone right into the first track Hang On, produced by Sha’s brother Lord Digga (Masta Ace, Notorious B.I.G). This track is cleverly arranged from the Donny Hathaway sample to the voice modulation on Sha’s voice on the opening bars which depicts him growing from a child to a man. The icing on the cake comes in the last verse when Sha channels his inner Yota spitting, “So hot album is/ Many records Sha sold/ Metaphors, deep shit, many flows he has…” On Blasphemy, Sha has a conversation on record that many of us have had in private but wouldn’t dare expose. Anytime you question or take the creator’s name in vain it will raise eyebrows but within the concept of the song and album (yes the entire album has a concept) it is perfectly executed. Move Back is a vintage Just Blaze banger featuring Freeway and a brief cameo from Young Chris. The Smelly Cat Song will have the streets buzzing for a long time and is an ode to a malodorous young lady. Besides being a PSA for feminine hygiene it reflects the spirit of Slick Rick, Ghostface, Biggie and some of the great story tellers in hip-hop. Other standouts include Do It For The Doe, I Wish I Was U, Good Day and I Believe. In fact, there really are no fillers on this album. Nothing is contrived or forced which is very refreshing.
If you are a fan of lyricism and genuine music, My Soul To Keep is the project you have been waiting for. I salute Sha for creating something from his heart instead of his brain. There’s no question that this was the album that he wanted to do regardless of the pressures of today’s hip-hop landscape and the need to make club bangers and radio hits. It’s a throwback to the days of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder when artists, regardless of their status, took one theme and addressed it throughout a project from multiple angles. Hopefully, this will not fall on deaf ears and Sha Stimuli can find a lane in this crowded industry.