Clear Soul Forcesare a hip-hop crew comprised of four members, E-Fav, L.A.Z., Noveliss, and Illajide who doubles as a producer and an emcee. These four came together in Detroit in 2009, after one fateful studio session (which involved Royce Da 5’9” suggesting the four separate emcees become a collective), and they’ve been on a mission ever since to bring a little soul, a little bit of the golden era, and a little bit of poetry into the hip-hop scene. They kicked things off with a debut mixtape in 2010, Clear Soul Radio, and as a group they became stronger than any one individual emcee, rising up the ranks of the Detroit underground scene.
The debut Clear Soul Radio was jam-packed with twenty tracks, and since then, they’ve perfected their style, lyrics and team dynamic, with the release of The Departure EP, a debut album Detroit Revolution(s) and most recently, Gold PP7s. On Detroit Revolution(s) the four emcees really came into their own, with Illajide providing all the production, which is filled with an old school, soulful, and even somewhat jazzy feel. It stands in stark contrast to the bouncy and electronic-driven production many of today’s rappers opt for. On September 17th of this year the group delivered yet another album, Gold PP7s, through the independent label FatBeats Records, and it is definitely their most polished-sounding project to date. Once again, production comes from Illajide, who continues to give that little bit of soul and live instrumentation the group has become known for, while the rappers trade bars, creating a dynamic you don’t always hear in a rap group.
We spoke to all four rappers on how the D has influenced them. Read what they had to say about it below.
E-Fav -Detroit has influenced me musically through it's roots, it's progression, you can ride through the city and visit the past, present and future peaceful and chaotic at the same damn time..shits real. Growing up in that influenced me in a way that will always keep me grounded.
Ilajide - Detroit definitely plays a huge part in my aggression, and the force part of the group. Living here, it's just depressing, it's gloomy, it's never any good news. My challenge, is to turn that into positive energy. That's what our music is, that's why is not sad shit, but it's hard as fuck. Everyone deals with sad shit here left and right. I'm at the hospital writin' this shit now, but everyone has a sad story, ionn wanna hear that shit I see it every day. I just wanna take all the negative, and turn it into good vibes, positive energy, just a feel good experience, but kick ass on the mic at the same time. Even though I want better for the city, if it wasn't for Detroit being the way it is, I wouldn't rap this way. It puts a permanent chip on my shoulder. That's my inspiration to make it out.
L.A.Z. - Detroit has been a huge influence on me since I moved to MI in 2006 with both the music and my personal life. Its crazy because I never seen myself being a resident of the city when I was growing up in Colorado but I see how the soul and the attitude of the city is in me now. I draw from the everyday struggle and look to make something out of nothing and that mindset has helped me so much in the pursuit of this rap dream. Its ironic because all they talk about is people dying in Detroit and negativity but I feel like this is where I found life and a chance to do something positive with my life.
Noveliss - Detroit influenced me musically first through the artists that have come from the city. It's like when your a kid growing up, you don't start off with the knowledge that the music your playing out of your headphones comes from your city, you kind of figure it out as you get older and it makes the impact that much stronger. Growing up listening to Eminem, Royce, Slum Village (RIP Dilla), I didn't even know they were from Detroit with the exception of Slim because my homies all listened to stuff that was on TV and the radio, then when I found out its like"oh shit, I can do this if I'm good enough." Knowing that someone legendary is from around the way is powerful stuff.