The Fault Is History

CD “They’re like the Fugees singing Gospel”, says Tonéx.

Seeing as how the Nureau pioneer co-produced Souljahz’ debut along with Chris Rodriguez and the sibling trio themselves, it’s a descriptor that merits some attention.

Souljahz —Johsu’a, Je’kob, and Rachael Washington— are pretty much unlike any Gospel group to come on the scene to date. Defying comparison (the Fugees reference notwithstanding), they bring a sound unique unto themselves.

With a solid hip-hop anchor, the trio —who will be familiar to those with their ear to Gospel's thriving underground scene— fuse elements of joyous Latin, hard folk, righteous funk and strident pop, all the while addressing hot social issues in a scripturally-correct context.

Yo —More Nureau
CD Stemming from that bastion of Nureau, San Diego, and seeded in the studio machinations of Tonéx and T.Boy, this association of artists is poised to...

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The vocal colors and textures the group is capable of is immediately ear-catching. Rachael has expression that would easily fit into the alternative pop style, she instead applies them to soulful musings, making for an intriguing appeal. Brothers Johsu’a and Je’kob bring in gritty, near-rasp vocals and flows with a penchant for enthusiastic, fast-paced, but clear deliveries.

As for the cryptic album title The Fault Is History, Joshu’a explains, “Sin was born 7,000 years ago, so people need to stop looking for someone to blame for all the problems that plague our country, youth, and the entire world. Let’s focus positively on the future and try to make this world a better place.”

The whole ride starts off with “Let It Go”, an infectious, sunny groove crammed with lyrics that unleashes a glorious chorus exhorting us to let go our issues and rely exclusively on God. Production from Tonéx and copious electric and acoustic guitar mark the piece which brings in lead vocal segments from all three Souljahz, plus Zsa Zsa and Tonéx wailing in the background. Check the lyrics:

Sunny blue skies when my clouds been gray
Glass of cold water on a real hot day
Hot cocoa in the mug when it’s cold outside
Like change for the bus when you got no ride
Lemme tell you ‘bout a friend who will always be around
When your head hangs so low feel it draggin’ on the ground
When you feel like the whole world jumped on your soul
Breathe in breathe out and let go, come on now

“True Love” sees Rachael duet with Philip LaRue from LaRue. It’s a strongly melodic ballad that advocates pre-marital abstinence, with the two entwining their vocals together with ease, making for a repeatable track and very listenable number, helped by live instrumentation (including drum contribution from the renowned Dan Needham).

Further social commentary comes into play on “Poor Man” and “The Color Hate”, both of which are intro’d by tracks that feature the spoken word sermonics of poet Vejae.

SouljahzThe pop-drives of the project’s lead single “All Around the World” is propelled by fast-paced strident guitar and has all the ingredients necessary to generate massive radio play across multiple formats. Souljahz instruct us: “Don’t let the snake get ya just let the word hit ya /And take the sword with ya all around the world…”

On the pure hip hop tip, the focus is on hands-up party vibe, with cuts such as “Jubilee” (featuring with Zsa Zsa on chorus) setting the pace. This one has no doubt already infected the dance floor with its Nureau vibe and power hooks.

“Keep Risin’” (which comes packaged with an instrumental-only version) and “”Souljahz Don’t Stop” continue the drive into deep hip hop territory.

The album also includes praise and worship, albeit in unorthodox Souljahz fashion. Hardly slowing it down, the simply-titled “Worship” is a praise that highlights back-and-forth vocal trading over a sparse track from DJ Niques.

Poised to light a fire under anyone who listens, is there any doubt that Souljahz are for real, and are here to stay? No, not really.

Producers: T-boy, Chris Rodriguez, Souljahz
album release date: August 20, 2002
Warner Brothers

— reviewed by Stan North

  All content in GospelFlava © copyright 2002. No information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed written consent of GospelFlava.com. All rights reserved.

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