Detroit, MI-based hip-hop act Clear Soul Forces — E-Fav, L.A.Z., Noveliss, and producer/emcee Ilajide — can trace their origins to a 2009 all-nighter at a Detroit recording studio. As the story goes, the four emcees scraped the money to record material individually. Coincidentally, Royce Da 5’9″ was finishing work on his album Street Hop in the studio room next door, and naturally the four emcees leapt at the chance to spit a few rhymes and get pointers. The quartet then spent the next nine hours in an epic cypher in which they traded bars back and forth, while the impressed Detroit-based legend intently listened. When they finally finished, Royce Da 5’9″ suggested that the four emcees should team up and be a group.
Since their formation, the act has spent the better part of the past decade developing and maintaining a reputation for lyrically and sonically drawing from 70s spoken word artists and boom-bap era hip-hop as a group and with each emcee’s individual creative projects. Sadly, the act’s forthcoming fifth album ForcesWithUs, which is slated for a March 13, 2020 release through Fat Beats Records will be their final album together.
Interestingly, Forces With You‘s first single, the Ilajide-produced “Chip$” is centered around a glitchy yet soulful J. Dilla-esque production: hard-hitting, head-nodding and shuffling beats, shimmering melodic keys and a razor-sharp hook. And while the track is an upbeat and celebratory banger, there’s a palpable sense of purpose and passion throughout that suggests that this track — and in turn, the album — isn’t a victory lap, nor a farewell tour in which the members wave farewell and get flowers from adoring fans; but rather, it sees the act “not going quietly into the night,” as the old poem says. And although Clear Soul Forces are coming to an end, the track subtly signals a bright new future for its in individual members.