Sol – Yours Truly [Album Review]

Posted by on February 2, 2012

Feast your ears on Seattle’s newest hip-hop prodigy (well, new to my ears at least).  What name comes to mind when you hear “Seattle Hip-Hop”?  For an east coast native like myself, Macklemore was the easy answer.  After opening my ears and mind to the 23 year old Sol (pronounced “Sawl”), I’ve learned Macklemore & the rest of the Seattle hip-hop scene is in very strong company.

Recently releasing a trio of EP’s titled “Dear Friends”, Sol dropped his first highly anticipated LP, Yours Truly, on January 20th.  Quickly escalating up the iTunes charts, the indie album claimed the number one spot on the hip-hop charts and number four on the worldwide leader board.  Although this was not the first time I had heard of Sol, it was the first time I really gave him a chance. His confident, yet reserved demeanor corresponds with his musical message and the music runs deeper than the recognition it may receive.

Yours Truly is an artistic representation reflecting Sol’s life, beliefs, experiences, and trials & tribulations of making it in the music industry. Listen through in full and you may find yourself painting scenes of to a movie (popcorn rap sold separately).  Authentic bars, organic stories, and versatility, track after track.  In addition, the project is presented as an album should be presented.  Each song transitions into the next retaining a level of fluidity, there is balance, and a variety of sounds.  Each song is a part of the bigger picture.  The first time I listened, I found my ears increasingly fixating the deeper into the project I traveled.  It’s one of those albums that is always better when you listen in full from beginning to end. Below is my personal reflection of each individual song (yes, I understand your thoughts and opinions may differ) along with a lyric or two that represent the song best.


Intro – “The only reason that I write this, is cause I worry ‘bout the lives we live.  I’m not that rapper tryin’ to lie to kids, just do they will ride my dick.”

If this is the first time you’ve heard Sol, he shares a brief introduction of himself, who he is as an artist, and the message he is vying to convey.  Short, but concise.  Enough of a taste to gather your attention, but not an overwhelming message off the bat.

Stakes Still High – “If you seem outside the box you’re not industry, everybody’s auto-tuned, tattoo’d, skinny jeans, this is not a hate song its a love song, this is not a rap song its a pop song, straight to your jaw leave you on the floor, waiting for the count with your headphones on.”

It’s not easy being a successful rapper or musician.  Unfortunately there are far too many people who see success for unworthy reasons.  This song highlights some of those cases indirectly and reflects on how the industry is flooded with artists who aren’t really artists.  The internet has changed the game, that’s without a question.  Using it appropriately is the key to success.

Stage Dive“Stage dive, swimming in waves of fans, the bass line shake me from my face to my vans, I take pride in turning strangers to fans and making them dear friends before the day ends” “Sound like hippie shit huh, well I don’t give a shit pimp, I got honor rolled in college but I was lifted like a blimp, cuttin’ records cuttin’ rugs rockin’ venues f*ck the club”

My favorite track on the album. The beat is appetizing, the lyrics are truthful, and the hook is catchy.  This is the type of song you set to your alarm clock, but also jam out to live as soon as the needle hits the vinyl.  Uplifting content with a head-bobbing beat, yes please.

Falling Stars“We all play the game to win, even stars wanna be famous, then they fall and then they fall”

Use it, don’t abuse it.  Sol convey’s his promise to stay true to his fans with some clever inspiration on the hook from Dave Chappelle’s famous Rick James line.  When you have a sublime flow like Sol, or any other young artist tasting success, it’s most important to stay humble and not let the lights shine too bright.

Need Your Love ft. Ray Dalton“I’m crushing hard you got to know, you sing the blues I’m Rock n’ Roll, we can make hip-hop if you got the soul, just open up I’m knocking yo, no makeup no product no clothes we knockin’ yo”

This was the first song I heard off this album and the one that really pulled me in to hear more.  Ray Dalton’s jazzy, soulful sound complements Sol’s voice very well and this track is different than what every other up and coming artist releases.  I rarely hear r&b/soul in todays hip-hop.  I’d say this is the slowest song on the project, backed by a light guitar riff.  What’s an album without a relationship track?

Paint“I got weed songs if you smoke good, I got peace songs if you ain’t so hood, that you can’t kick it get it, have a party, oh shit homie don’t hurt nobody.”

As I mentioned earlier, Sol does more than write songs.  He paints pictures.  His sound is a combination of classic hip-hop, blues, soul, & r&b, infused with modern influences and instruments.

Rap Life“I remember when I was hyper like Urkel, Gandhi body frame but on the mic I could hurt you, Now I’m in your speakers people think I’m ill, related to my music because they know I keep it real”

With vinyl scratches and 90’s rap samples, this track’s definitely got the old school flare.  Heavily influenced by Seattle producer Jake One, Solzilla cranks the beat up and serves some hip-hop insight on this gridiron track.  Taking his organic small town sound, this Blue Collar supersonic is slowly blowing up on the scene.

Ugly Love ft. Shaprece – “I keep coming back because you’re ugly drug’s a love and I’m a feind”

A very powerful hook from Shaprece on this joint along with a strong verse from her that really helps carry the song.  I would have liked to see another verse from Sol on this one to finish off the track.  Definitely a lot of truth in this song that the majority of people can relate to.

The Rundown ft. Dice – “I grew up a child who could do with his mouth, what you do with a gun, I hold shit down, I hold shit down.”

If I had to pick my least favorite track, I would forcefully choose this one by default.  The message is on point and it’s a nice change of pace from the rest of the album.  I do respect how Sol really highlights the significance of holding the ability do what you want to do in life, not what others want you to do.

Budo’s Interlude – “Talk is cheap.”

I kept waiting and waiting for some vocals, but none came (other than “Talk is cheap”).  At first I was a bit disappointed, then the more I listened the more I liked the choice to include this interlude.

2020 – “Life is what you make it you can give it you can take it you can waste it chasing bitches or listen to what I’m saying, 20/20 vision isn’t a given when you was raised in, a system full of the prisons and shitty education I’m out” “This rap shit is tired, it lacks passion. F*ck you and your WorldStar mind frame my lane is way passed it”

A difficult second in terms of my favorite track off the album.  This is Sol’s most widespread track and the first video we received off Yours Truly.  There’s no question Sol’s vision is focused on the music and not the glitz and glamour that may come along with it.  I can only hope he stays true to his word throughout his progression as an artist, but as of right now I have no reasonable doubt.

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Yours Truly“This is Huey this is Bobby this is Malcolm this is Pac, this is you this is me this is us this is God, this is so much more than 16 bars, this is from me to you, stay true to who you are” “When you bump my songs, you like to judge ’em all like, as if you knew me ya’ll, but you don’t know me mane”

The title track explains in more detail what Yours Truly is.  This track is a message from Sol telling us that this album is indeed very personal, but it’s only a chapter of his life and what he’s about.

War Party – “I figure that the music I make, should represent my moods and my pain, Yours Truly is the picture I paint, fool get with the game this is just a tool for the brain”

I suppose you can classify this as the undefined outro.  There’s nothing here I can say that will speak stronger than Sol’s words.  Listen to the lyrics for what they are.

My only hope from this point forward is that you will listen to this album with an open mind and respect for the music. It’s not often I come across an artist I’m this fond of right off the bat, who has limitless potential.  If you consistently read my posts you may know a few other artists at the top spot of my library (…cough, yonasoncuetayyibalilogicetc).  I’d love to hear what other people have to say so sound off in the comments section to share your two cents on Sol, the album, the “2020” video, the state of hip-hop, Seattle’s Space Needle, or anything else on your mind.

Purchase Yours Truly on iTunes or Order a Physical, hand packed copy

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