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Souls Of Mischief

Comprised of A-Plus, Tajai, Phesto, and Opio, the Souls of Mischief may be the group that best represents the Bay Area rap collective Hieroglyphics. Starting out as young, brash, and cocky high school students, the Souls hadn't even graduated school yet when they signed to Jive Records. But their reputation, in the form of unreleased demo tracks like the infamous "Cabfare" and "Souls of Mischief," preceded them. Today more underground and bootleg tapes of Souls material is circulating the West than that of any other group. The Souls have even been credited with spawning the phenomenon now known as "backpacker" hip hop fans: savvy suburban kids of all ethnicities who are true connoisseurs of hip hop, as opposed to teenage consumers of novelty "rap" like Limp Bizkit or Kid Rock.

Through major label releases and scads of underground and compilation tracks, such as "Airborne Rangers," from the Industry Records Process of Elimination album, Souls of Mischief have become a force to be reckoned with, ripping microphones and proving themselves in countless ciphers and battles. Not even their well-publicized and acrimonious split with Jive after their second album could break their stride. They bounced back without missing a beat, representing Hiero to the fullest on the posse album Third Eye Visions and dropping their third LP, Focus, on the newly inaugurated Hieroglyphics Imperium label.

But the Souls Of Mischief aren't merely just battle rhymers, though that's what they're best known for. With Los Angeles contemporaries the The Pharcyde and Freestyle Fellowship, they have helped move the spotlight on skills and creativity in hip hop back to the West.