This is Part 2 of the interview I did with SoulStice. You can listen to it as a stream here, or you can download it for free from the Dope FM page.
At the end of Part 1, we played the song “Strange Kind of Love” off of the Beyond Borders album from SoulStice. If you don’t have this album, go cop that now. It’s an amazing album produced by Sbe. That last song we played is a great song too and we go further in depth with it here in Part 2.
CHASE: “Nice, nice track man.”
SOULSTICE: “Thank you. I appreciate that.”
CHASE: “I really like some of the lyrics in there. The one lyric you say, ‘You making me proud when you wearing that ring … make love then show our kids what love is.’ That’s really nice ‘cause you don’t actually here too much on this type of topic in hip-hop, about actual true love and showing kids what love is. That’s amazing.”
SOULSTICE: “Thanks. And we’re coming from a community in hip-hop, and I guess the black community at large, where the family is really in crisis. A lot of rappers talk about how they didn’t have their dad in their lives. And I was talking to Gamma Krush on text and mentioned that me and my wife just had a kid two weeks ago.”
SS: “And I’ll be really happy to be a part of this kid’s life and show him what I think love is, you know, share our values that, you know, people deserve to be treated with a minimum of respect. And to really respect people’s humanity and to allow people the basic freedoms to pursue their own happiness and love without all these barriers that we put up as a society.”
CHASE: “Yeah, that’s what really what’s needed because there’s too many dads that aren’t dads. And too many kids growing up without any strong male role model in their life at all, and they need that. So it’s nice to see that you’re going to be doing that with your new born, so congratulations on that.”
SOULSTICE: “Thanks man, I’m gonna try my best.”
CHASE: “Yeah, that’s awesome. I want to talk to you a little but about your spirituality. You say, you write all your own stuff so it probably is autobiographical but also talk about God in this song. And in a couple of your other songs, you mention it too. In this one you say, ‘God is love so it’s meant to be.’ I’m assuming that’s about you and your wife that line.”
SOULSTICE: “Absolutely. That line is in the second verse where I’m talking about same sex love, same sex marriage. And you know, I have a lot of different friends, of all different religions and all that. And the people that are the most religious, that I know, a lot of times tend to be the most opposed to gay marriage. And people look in the Bible to try and quote this and that. To me, they’re using religion to, I hate to say it, they’re using religion to promote hate and bigotry, you know what I mean. And that’s really what I’m getting at here.
So I’m saying ‘God is love,’ in terms of if you are a really religious person, I think that’s one of the tenets that I know of Christianity. God is love. And so that means any example of love, any relationship, is God, ya know what I mean. God is love. So if two people are in love, that’s meant to be. You can’t use God to try and keep people from being in love and try to keep love from happening. And that’s really what I’m saying in those two lines.”
SOULSTICE: “I have some friends that are really Christian that might take issue with what I just said.”
CHASE: “Ya, well that’s the interesting thing about quoting things. I mean, I’ve already quoted you wrong in this one interview. And when I hear people quoting the Bible, it kind of brings me back to my university days because there’s a couple essays I wrote where I used a misused a quote and I know I did it but I made it say what I wanted it to say.”
SOULSTICE: “Right, and with the Bible, it’s tough man. It’s easy to quote out of context and use the exact words and take them out of context even if the words are correct. There are just so many problems with taking the Bible literally. It’s a historical document, complied from lots of different stories from different writers. And to zero in on any one thing and say this is what I’m gonna latch on to, when there are so many things in the Bible that we all consider to be ridiculous in terms of interpreting literally. There’s something in the Bible that says you shouldn’t sit in the same chair as a menstruating women. It’s crazy stuff. So to zero in on one thing and cherry pick like that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
CHASE: “Yeah, I think some of it misses the point. That’s why when you say ‘God is love,” if people could concentrate on that, then that’s cool.”
SOULSTICE: “And you asked me about my own religion. I’m kind of open-minded. I went to Catholic grade school 1-6 and that kind of beat the Catholicism out of me. So, I don’t subscribe to any particular religion but I do consider myself a spiritual person and I do believe in something greater than myself. So when I say God, for me, that’s what I’m talking about, that which connects us and unites us and all that. So that’s where I’m coming from personally.”
GAMMA KRUSH: “I know how you’re saying how people always are using the Bible for bigotry and all that stuff. But at the same time, those people that they’re attacking, could the Bible be used to counterpoint all these people that are using something from the Bible? Has the Bible ever been used to counterpoint? I’ve always wondered that.”
CHASE: “I think it has.”
SOULSTICE: “I think you can certainly find dialogue in the Bible, in the New Testament, that talks about love and has themes of universal love, especially in some of the Apostles’ writings. I’m not an expert but when people try to counterpoint with the Bible, a lot of times, what they do is they do is say, ‘Well, if you could interpret this passage literally, if you interpret this other passage literally, that leads to something ridiculous.’ Ya know, something that’s clearly outdated, something that’s clearly a reflection of the times and something that we should’ve moved beyond by now.”
CHASE: “I think it’s time to drop another track. We’ve been talking for a little while. Do you have anything you’d like to hear?”
SOULSTICE: “Y’all been taking it back with all these different albums, there’s so much material. Since, we’ve been talking about Beyond Borders why don’t we play ‘World Star’ with Zap Mama?”
CHASE: “Alright, let’s drop that track right now. This is ‘World Star’ featuring Zap Mama off of the ‘Beyond Borders’ album from SoulStice. If you don’t got that, go cop that, ‘cause I’m really feeling it. I definitely want to talk some more after we play this track about the concept behind the album as well.”
SOULSTICE: “Right on.”
CHASE: “So Gamma Krush spin that track. Chase March will be back with SoulStice after this.”
SORRY but I couldn’t find this one to embed here. Listen to the podcast or pick up the album. It’s worth it. Great song!
CHASE: “The one thing I like about your new album Beyond Borders is that you kind of go on an international tour across the whole world and you’ve got artists from everywhere on there. It’s pretty amazing.”
SOULSTICE: “Yeah man. As I said on the album, I just got interested in travel in college when I studied abroad in Russia. You know, you go to all these places and you see the effect that US culture has had in places even as far a field as Japan or Russia, especially Europe and places like that. It’s clear that we export our culture to those places and have for a number of years. But what I don’t see a lot of, is reversing that flow and really tapping the art in those different places to see, not only what’s happening there in terms of the indigenous and native music, but also take a first hand look at how we’ve impacted their culture.
For instance, on ‘Two Days in Paris’ on Beyond Borders, it’s myself collaborating with a French MC. I actually have him rapping in French and that’s something you’re not gonna hear on a lot of US hip-hop releases.”
CHASE: “Definitely not. Sometimes you hear it on a few Canadian ones because French is our second language up here. But yeah, that’s pretty interesting. Your beat maker, Sbe, was this entire thing produced by Sbe?”
SOULSTICE: “Yeah, all the instrumental music was provided by Sbe.”
CHASE: “And he’s from Belgium, right?”
SOULSTICE: “Yeah, he’s outta Belgium. And we just met, I guess kind of cliché at this point, ya know, we met on myspace about four years ago. And he’s just been providing beats for a lot of my projects that I’ve done in between. And somewhere we got in our heads that we need to collaborate on a project. And at first we didn’t have this international theme. We were just gonna do a bunch of songs and put them together. And he was telling me that we should collaborate with this artist that he knew in Belgium and I’d say, ‘Oh, well we need to get this artist from the US.’ And I was like, wow, we should really make this a whole international project. And from there, the theme kind of unfolded, the different collaborations and the song concepts and all that.
I really wanted the entire album to tell a story. You don’t want it to be too repetitive and beat people over the head. At the same time, I wanted each song to play into the theme. And that’s one of the reasons I’m really proud of this album. I’m really proud of all my albums but I feel this one is the most cohesive in terms of all the songs playing to the theme of the album. I think it really tells a story.”
CHASE: “I think it does too. How did you do these collaborations. Did you have to travel or were you able to do it all online?”
SOULSTICE: “A little bit of both. As much as possible, I wanted to be in the studio with these artists. I know it’s popular to do the remote collaborations but I really like the experience of being in the studio with an artist. And the song we just played ‘World Star.’ I was lucky enough to get to do that session with Zap Mama while she was on tour.
Zap Mama was born on the Congo in Africa. She lives in Belgium and I actually caught her in New York while she was on tour in the states. And so we recorded that song in New York while she was on tour. And various other songs we were able to record with the actual artist. And some we got the verse over email or whatever and plugged it in. But we tried to do the live studio sessions as much as possible.”
CHASE: “Nice! Alright, you’re talking with DOPE Fm in Canada up here so definitely I gotta shout out the song you did with Eternia. Did you get a chance to work with her in the studio?”
SOULSTICE: “I didn’t, but I kind of give myself a pass on that one because I’ve met Eternia several times. We’ve done shows together and all that. So, I guess the real point is that you want to have a personal relationship with the artists you collaborate with. At least, that’s my goal. And Eternia is somebody I’ve had a relationship with over the years. We’ve corresponded, and like I said, we’ve rocked shows and everything. So, she was up in Canada at the time and did her verse up from Toronto. But we were in the studio together in spirit on that one.”
CHASE: “That’s pretty awesome that you can make stuff happen like that and not even have to be in the same place. I really like how, that track in particular, really hammers home the whole concept of the album – how hip-hop is at home everywhere on the globe. I think it just ties in the whole concept of the album very nicely.”
SOULSTICE: “Word. I appreciate that, man. I really wanted to hear some different voice on that one. United States is a great place, like the song title says ‘No Place Like It.’ I wouldn’t rather be from any other place. But I do feel that we can be introverted at times, in terms of being inward focused, looking at our culture and not really understanding what it’s like to live or be apart of these other cultures in these places around the world. And so I reached out to Eternia and asked her to write me a verse that tells me something about what it’s like to be from Canada. What do you like, what do you dislike?
And I reached out to Rich and I said the same thing. I know for a fact that Ireland is an under-represented view in hip-hop. And I said the same thing. I said, ‘Tell me what it’s like to live in Ireland’ in the verse. That’s what I wanted to capture and then I came in with the last verse and did the same thing for the US.”
CHASE: “Alright, let’s drop that track so everyone can hear what we’ve been talking about. You want to throw to that for us?”
SOULSTICE: “No doubt. This is ‘No Place Like It,” featuring Eternia, Richie Filth, and Stefernia on the chorus. Check it out.”
CHASE: “Thanks, cool.”
Well that ends part 2 of this exclusive interview. Make sure you come back tomorrow for Part 3 of the transcript and go to the Dope FM page to download the podcast for free. Consider subscribing as well since we always bring you the best in underground hip-hop with great mix sets and interviews. See you tomorrow.