Jul 16, 2008 - 6:53 PM
East Oakland’s Souls of Mischief weren’t joking around when they wrote “93 'Til Infinity.” Fifteen years later they’re still making music. After pulling double duty on four Souls of Mischief albums and numerous Hieroglyphics projects, Opio is releasing his sophomore solo effort Vulture’s Wisdom Volume 1. The two disc combo (CD/DVD) is the first installment in the Vulture’s Wisdom trilogy and features artwork from famed pop artist David Flores.
Staying true to his style, Opio is sticking with the same formula that made his solo debut Triangulation Station an underground success: slick beats paired with lyrical agility. This combination comes together beautifully on “The Prize,” which combines Opio’s sharper than Cutco knives prose over screaming Isley Brother-ish guitars. There are some oldies but goodies too. “Chaotic Erotic” is a remake of Gangstarr’s “Soliloquy of Chaos” with a kinky twist and “Original Lyricist” features a Rakim vocal sample. It’s a proven fact. Everything sounds better with Rakim. Not to say that Opio isn’t capable of holding his own in the booth. “Me I take the grit and grime/Live in crime/Stomach always empty/So don’t temp me or its dinner time, “ Opio quips on “Vice Versa.”
The rhythms are courtesy of Oakland producer Architect. On Vulture’s Wisdom he showcases his range, jumping from 70s funk to cartoonish notes and even a tad gangsta. Each track is unlike the last and is layered on top of each other until they build one cohesive monster of an album. He doesn’t call himself the Architect for nothin’.
Despite Vulture’s Wisdom’s intensity, one track falls short of the glory. “Cali Girls” sounds like it was recorded as an afterthought and comes across unfinished. The album would flow smoother without it, although it would have made this already brief collection even shorter. Clocking in under 40 minutes, Vulture’s Wisdom will barely last the commute from SF to Oakland. Perhaps Opio subscribes to the less is more philosophy, or maybe that’s just how he chills from ’93 'til the Vulture’s Wisdom trilogy.
Kimberly Turner is Oh Dang! Magazine's resident music critic and pastry fiend. And No, she's not fat.