Take three beatmakers from Nantes known for their love of neatly used samples and sharp arrangement, add 2 turntable goldsmiths, including five-time world champion and platinum disc maker with his crew C2C, shake up the whole thing and you'll get the latest Jazzy-Hip-Hop sensation: SOUL SQUARE! Coming from Nantes, home of the French soulful scene's rebirth, Atom, Jay Crate, PermOne, Arshitect & Guan Jay quickly drew attention to themselves thanks to their forceful melodic instrumentals.
Hip Hop Soul and Jazz, Soul square pays tribute to black American music with a confidence which invites you straight away to revisit their effort. We noticed them behind the stoves of Micronologie's or Fisto's recent albums, or as inspired remixers for Wax Tailor, Hocus Pocus and even The Jazz Liberatorz; the four chefs do know how to concoct the most flavorful combinations that make authentic and truly "soulful music".
Their first album, "Live & Uncut" released in 2010 on KIF Records, won unanimous support from the critic and the public, and was considered one of the best albums of the year.
After 2 EPs, the five members of Soul Square and the American rapper RacecaR maintains the mystery with a new opus titled Hidden Truth. An album that might sound like an ode to the conspiracies but actually sounds like a comeback to the golden age of hip-hop.
After more than 10 years of existence, Soul Square remains faithful to its musicality combining nostalgia and new influences. No illuminatis or "chemtrails", the eleven tracks of the project, with groovy and jazzy sounds, bring us back to the best of the boom-bap with this unique soul supplement: a goldsmith's work in the service of percussive melodies.
Get ready! Soul Square will hit your turntables hard!
Prolific behind his machines, but discreet in real life, PermOne operates in obscurity ... The kind of guy who says little but does not think less, laughing at newbie beatmakers "peeping through J-Dilla's a**hole," in his own words.
Such lofty requirement could make one expect an arrogant character, but it is not the case. Do not believe that his yearning to excellence makes him arrogant. The discreet PermOne is plain and effective as an empty Ballantine cup. His undeniable sense of groove, fat drums, and cleverly cut jazz makes him the boom-bap backing of the crew.
One last thing, do not be surprised if PermOne talks to you about binary language : his rhodes' solos played on computer keyboard are now legendary.
- Yo Tom, wussup ? Say, you got few minutes?
- Yo? Wussup? Yeah mon jeune*, be quick I'm at a sound check in Taiwan right now ...
- Yeah, ok, uh... just for that Soul Square's biography, I'd like to know... Are you still in Soul Square ?
- What the fuck man! Don't tell me you have not caught that I use my fucking noodle to make fucking world champion scratches?! And the three Zulus' beats, who do you think makes them sound like this? Shit... you such a sucker, man ... TUUUUUUUUUUUT...
- Uh.. no, uh, wait a minute ! Tom ? TOM ???
You should know that Atom is truly part of Soul Square... Motherf***ers.
« Mon jeune » is a french expression, used by a Quebecan rapper, that can't be translated in english. But you don't care.
Lover of the "Old-fashioned" and other similarly expensive cocktails, don't be surprised to see Arshitect on stage, knocking frantically at his sampler pad with one hand; the other most likely busy mixing a grapefruit mojito with the frenzy of a geek discovering the poke function on Facebook. If his strong arm doesn't make him look like a violonist Crab, he uses this god-given gift in the art and mastery of the whip; both Guan Jay and PermOne know to the true cost of this Indiana Jones-like side aspect.
Warned sampler and fetichist cutter of 70's soul samples, Arshi remains a graphic art lover (because of the record sales market he had to find a real job). He's the man responsible for the visual identity of Soul Square.
Energetic and very adept at groovy playing, Guan Jay caught his role to be that of "an old hand." Behind his legendary antics and colourful language (see: The ... Gorgeon* !), the Soul Square's old-timer is at least as talented as aged.
Despite his Hip-Hop references from another time, (between Old-School time where homo sapiens worked on the Atari ST) and his pathological nostalgia, his musicality should speak loudly even to the most spotty of you. As comfortable behind his MIDI-keyboard as behind a microphone, the man likes to galvanize crowds (probably an old remainder of his union activism) with a real sense of show and a cheeky humour that is reminiscent of Audiard's filmography, like "Les Tontons Flingueurs."
Gorgeon* = alcohol, more oftenly Whisky. "Well, I'd drink a little glass of Gorgeon."
A great mystery surrounds the Soul Square's frontman. The Chicagoan MC likes to isolate himself before each concert, only surrounded by a thick opioid fog, speaking few french words that Jane Birkin would not deny. Do not suggest him to eat a good sandwich, or to relax in a bed, he only eats spiritual food, and sleeps right on the floor.
Once on stage, his accumulated energy spills out with the ease of an expert. His communicative cheerfulness and his elastic flow, make Racecar an essential element for the Soul Square's show. Few rappers are master of the pen, Racecar is one of them. He tirelessly writes down metaphors and plays with assonnances; dogsitting or not.
Do not be mistaken, if Jeff Spec often wears lumberjack shirts, it is not to cut trees but just to be close to nature. Salad and tomato juice lover, this Canadian has nothing to envy to ours "bob[i]os"* parisians with dirty hairs. Healthier than all Soul Square livers combined, it is not impossible to see him debating passionately about peruvian coffee trees between 2 freestyles.
Despite this sick healthy side, Jeff Spec is as prolific as talented, mixing decades of influences to a rare groovy and punchy vibe.
- Yo B-Loo* Wussup man?
- Yo man! I'm gonna "coïter"* pretty soon but yeah I'm listening...
- It is shit man, Atom got famous...
- Shit!!! What an asshole!!!
- Yeah... Now he doesn't have time to play on stage with us anymore. We thought about you to replace him. What do you think about it?
- Could be cool for sure! But do i have to be dressed like him and cut my hairs?
- No no I don't think, we will put you in the dark, people will almost not see you.
- Ok ok, and what about the fee?
- 1/100 of Atom's fee, ok with you?
- Perfect! I was expected less...
- Cool! And no worries, all concert planners will do the mistake and forget to talk about you.
- I feel reassured, I was afraid people would be correctly informed about me... I really have to go man...
- Coquinou* va!
*He decided in 2013 to name himself Jay Crate to be more credible, especially in the north of France.