You think you know Detroit City right ? As far as I am concerned, the only image that comes to my mind is given by the uncountable shots of fascinating abandoned places, standing proud while not showing any signs of life. These fallen temples rise to the sky, as the only symbols of a city destroyed by the avidity of a capitalistic society pushed to the limits. But this is just an image. The collapse of Detroit strengthened its spirit and the rage of a whole population, able to gain Motor City’s prestige back to the surface, labeling a shit ton of albums « Straight From Detroit ». From Motown to Eminem, along with some of the greatest Techno artists, Detroit has always been the playground of many legendary artists, and well, Clear Soul Forces is part of them. Thanks to the four MC’s forming the squad, a certain kind of authenticity is brought back to Hip-Hop. While pouring their Boom Bap in the mix, Detroit’s finest rappers are able to add modern sonorities, with a hint of electronic vibes. A cocktail ready to blow your face up, proving that not all rappers should step into the snare of Trap music to sound new-school. In 2012, the group made its first appearance by releasing their mixtape « Detroit Revolution », listen to the track Get No Better, smooth. After a dope first album called « Gold PP7 », Clear Soul Forces are coming back with Fab Five, their newest album. This shit is even dopier than anything we’ve heard. These guys spit lyrics faster than machine-guns with chainsaw flows. Prepare your brains to be busy for quite a moment. Until then, check out what E-Fav and L.A.Z told us about the story of their group and how they became what they are today.
Jacker / What’s up guys, you come from Detroit, what can you tell us about your city ?
Laz / Detroit is like the sleepiest city in America man. There’s a certain life that the city has where everybody has the desire to do better. You can’t find another place with as many talented people as Detroit.
E-Fav / It’s like a concrete jungle and we all love it.
J / Could you tell us more about you, how did you guys meet and how did you start rapping ?
L / It was all by chance, I moved out to Michigan from Colorado and started going to college & met E-Fav who introduced me to his cousin Ilajide. From there, me and ilajide started building and met up with Noveliss when we were doing shows through a mutual college homie named Robo Robb and Moonchild. Fate really....and when I first started out, I would annotate verses from my favorite MC’s but wouldn’t spit them. A little while after I met E-Fav he found one of my rhyme books and he kinda made me rap out loud on some serious shit @ 1st time in my life.
E / My name is Emile Vincent Manette, and I’m a Scorpio (laughs), I’m married now and I have a son, I love music, learning, and family... Me and L.A.Z met in school, me and ilajide are cousins, and we all met Noveliss as the emcee at an open mic and we been building ever since. I got into rapping young I can remember trying to transcribe tupac’s dear mama so I could know the lyrics but also I find the process of writing rhymes interesting almost like a word puzzle.
J / Eminem, slum village, there ain’t many well-known rappers from Detroit, how’s the scene ? Is Hip Hop in Detroit resurrecting ?
L / I feel like the scene is really thriving right now, Detroit is doper than any other scene right now we got artists on every level. Groups its people like us, Cold men Young, Detroit CYDI, shit even doughboyz cashout is a group killing right now. Big Sean and Dej Loaf on the radio, Danny Brown killing the radio, Black Milk and Guilty the OG’s keeping it hot in Europe for the city. Detroit is everywhere to me...
E / I think Detroit is like a breeding ground for creativity, so the scene is very diverse but you used the word « resurrecting » I wouldn’t say that, I would say It’s our time though. It’s been through the work of a LOT of artists here (too many to name) that you’ll even have some of the material you hear in hip hop today, so we’ve been here and only getting bigger and better.
J / I discovered Clear Soul Force with the boom bap track “get No better”, what do you think about the current evolution and direction of Hip Hop nowadays ? Do you believe in a comeback to roots ?
L / Hip hop is moving back towards the people and they’re choosing to listen to more stuff with substance. The radio plays the trap Queens and shit like that but just as many people are choosing to listen to what they wanna listen to off their phones and computers. The options opened the game up and I do think it’s easing its way back to the roots.
E / Hip Hop has always been about progressing, I don’t think it needs to go back to it’s roots more than I think it’s roots need to be acknowledged and celebrated more... like linking the past with the present and working to create an even better future for the entire culture of hip hop also the genre itself is based in demographics meaning depending on where your at in the world it’s going to sound different; and people like styles of hip hop music, so what’s the point of even trying to give it an overall « sound » ? Why don’t we let people make the type of music they want to make and appreciate it for what it is I don’t know, but hip hop is designed to be expansive.
J / You guys did a tour around Europe, how did that go ?
L / Shit was live son...Europe dope as hell.
E / It went as it was supposed to go, we had fun...saw a lot, worked hard...ate a bunch of kebab and came home.
J / Could you tell us more about the fatbeats records, how did that happen ?
L / We ended up on their radar and we wanted to rock with them. We both view hip hop the same way and it made sense so we decided to rock with them.
J / Let’s talk a little about fab 5ive, that album is a serial killer. What was the state of mind whilst recording the album ?
L / Lol its a serial killer huh ? Thank u, but there was like a couple different states of mind while we were making this album. It was a work in progress over the past couple of years we had fab 5ive tracks before we had some tracks off Gold PP7. It’s like a 2 year ride through all of our lives in audio form. I hope y’all enjoy the ride.
E / I just wanted to show people some progress I’m grateful and realize the blessing in the opportunity to even share music I had a hand in creating to the world ; so I just wanted to say something, something that connects with people something from the heart and nameless production along with Ilajide provided the perfect compliment to the mood. It was a different process recording it, stylistically. But ultimately I think listeners will still enjoy it.
J / I understand the beats come from Nameless, could you tell us more about the one without a name ?
L / Nameless is a homie, he’s from flint and has been somebody we all agreed was nice as fuck since our 2nd project the departure EP (www.clearsoulforces.bandcamp.com) came out and he did the beat for Pick up the Sticks. He’s just a dope producer and a hard worker that we all have respect for.
J / Detroit is known for abandoned places, a lot of graffiti and street artists come round. What’s your relation with these disciplines ?
L / We know some street artists, I like the graffiti and the visual they give the city. It’s better than just looking at abandoned shit all day. If nothing is gonna happen with the buildings then you might as well put a picture on them so it’s something to look at. It makes us unique.
E / My closest relation with graffiti artists is through 5e gallery spit out to Dj Sicari and 5e man, we gotta help the kids man...
J / In your opinion what are the 5 Hip Hop albums that changed the history of Hip Hop ?
L / “It takes a nation of millions to hold us back”, “Illmatic”, “The Chronic”, “As nasty as they wanna be” by the 2 live crew and Aquemini
E / This is a tough one but from my era I would have to say in no particular order ; ready to die, blueprint, 400 degrees, the chronic, slim shady LP.