Friday, February 23, 2018

Raw Soul - Raw Soul EP - 1996

from Left to Right : Rome, Dj Quest, Ed & Ink One (Seated) - Photo courtesy of DJ Quest

RAW SOUL was a Bay Area based Hip-Hop crew. The group started in the early 90's in San Francisco and consisted of Nel a.k.a Ink, Rome, Ed a.k.a Sho Nuff and Dj Quest

The original members were Ink and Dj Ra Sol, the House DJ from the Bay. He was from Oakland. Ink and Dj Ra Sol go back to their Graffiti days. They made up the name sitting in the studio :
Ink : "One day he was to be Rasta Soul and I was to be Raw Soul along with Dj Quest of the Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters with Eddie Def and Dj Cue. I met Romell from friend in a group, I did some tracks for their group called Truly Funky Minds."

Truly Funky Minds & Raw Soul - Photo courtesy of Sifu Frankie Frank

Ink : "Next to enter the group was a cat named Ed aka Sho Nuff who brung the swag to the group"
Dj Quest : "MC ED ... we just called him Ed. Teddy Riley looking brother, he was the hype man !!  I remember going to 3rd Floor Studios and doing cuts for various projects. Anyway, Nel used to work there and we started collaborating there but Nel and Rome linked up outside of through our hiphop community. Eventually, we got a manager and we practiced at 3rd floor studios. But way before anybody else was onboard, it was just Nel and I working on demos.. we almost got signed to Profile at one point"
Ink : "A lot of things started coming together for us when we met our manager, this lady named Tina who Romell met at one of our shows. Quest left cause he didn’t get along with Her. And it went from their, being the opening act to a lot well known names in the biz to headlining show’s in Canada, up and down the coast as well as our own back yard, all this was in the early nineties"

By the way, you can also check this video of Raw Soul live on New World Video TV Show hosted by G-Spot & Barry Dow and originally aired live on October 30th 1992.

In 1996 , Raw Soul dropped their first official EP on Soul Kids Productions, a record label directed by Ink and Romell. The EP was composed of 6 tracks produced by Ink and DJ Wonder Hands.
Ink : "The production was me with Dj Wonder Hands who I recruited for the group who was a friend of mine from where i lived"

12" - 1996 - Soul Kids Productions 

Stunning project from the beginning to the end, the EP is made of the main hip-hop ingredients... mad flows, good lyrics and dope instrumentals using a bunch of samples.
Songs like "What's Going On" performed by Les McCann or "N.T" performed by Kool & The Gang on "Dialect", "Summer Madness" performed by Kool & The Gang on "Are U Wid Me"... the production is just as good as some East Coast projects from that era but unfortunately the EP is their only physical release, the album never came out...

Ink : "Well what happened life as use Ed wanted to make money for his family so he left. Rome got in to radio and was a new father so he took a couple of years off then we came back and did the EP and that next year I became father so music got put by the way side, I still have maybe two unreleased tracks for the album that I'm sitting on. I never stopped making music, last hip-hop album I did was for Zulu nation"

To be honest, I've never had the chance to find this nice indie record so I'm like people who would like to see a reissue ... so maybe one day who knows...fingers crossed !

Massive props to Nel, Rome and Dj Quest. 

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