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REVIEW: Sha Stimuli, My Soul to Keep

Sha Stimuli
My Soul to Keep
(ChamberMusik/E1)

Beats: L
Lyrics: XL
Originality: L

Things haven’t been easy for Sha Stimuli. Though he signed to Virgin Records in 2005, the Brooklyn MC’s freshman album, Thee Emotion Picture, never saw the light of day. Now, after becoming a free agent in 2008, he finally presents a proper debut with My Soul to Keep.

After a themed intro, the jazzy horns of “Hang On” set the tone as Stimuli recounts his life’s ups and downs. The hood dedication “Move Back,” produced by Just Blaze, is another standout, as Sha raps, “Got the whole hood behind me, so it looks like I rep a set/If I make it, they make it, so I never rest,” before giving way to a spirited verse from Freeway. Much of the album revolves around Sha’s personal demons: the role-playing “I Wish I Was You” displays his fear of commitment, and “Bucket List” is a lyrical laundry list of things the rapper hopes to accomplish before dying.

Sha covers much ground topically, but musically the album isn’t as diverse. Tracks like the J. Cardim–produced “Good Day,” “What’s Wrong With That? (Wake Up the World)” and “Blasphemy” are good but get lost sonically in the disc’s dense track list. Still, through it all, Sha Stimuli’s soulful debut is a keeper. —Konate Primus

  • G-Clef da Mad Komposa

    What album did you listen to? LOL. My Soul to Keep is amazing and I sense something odd going on with XXL and Stimuli. Like A-Rod said the other night… “it’s just a little obvious..”

  • http://www.escapemtl.ca P. The Rebel

    An L for originality!?!? You must be kidding, right? Theme wise it’s probably the most original hip hop album of all time. At least, you recognized that Sha is lyrically superior to basically any emcee out right now.
    My Soul to Keep is also a musical masterpiece with incredible arrangments and an amzing mix of live instrumentation and powerful electronic drums.
    But my main problem with your review is that you gave the album an L while you don’t say much negative thing about it. I think you meant XL… anyway to me it deserves XXL.
    P.

  • Will DaBoss

    This album hands down is a XL.

    How much original can it be, have you ever heard another artists have a song about a Smelly Cat, a Bucket List, and Blasphemy all on one CD.

    Lyrics are always on point.

    I accept your apology in advance being that I know you now realize after listening in your Ipod or Honda that you drive that a mistake was made.

  • hate

    copped this yesterday after i read a few comments claimin it was much better than it’s L rating.

    it definitely deserves an XL.

    shit is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY better than BP3 or any other piece of shit you gave a XL to.

  • Thomas

    Totally different album than BP3….why everyone wanna compare every album to Jay’s? SMH at that.

    This album is dope from start to finish. This dude talks about the working man, asking GOD questions, gives us insight into his life on “My Soul,” and talks to all of the followers on “Follow the Leader.” Only an “L?” Nah…not feeling that.

    I agree with the beats being an “L” cause they aren’t anything special, but the tracks do provide the lyrics (most important to me) the shine they deserve. Having a hilarious, but dead serious song like “The Smelly Cat Song” on the album should give him a “XXL” for Originality alone.

    Dope ish….order it online if you want the CD cause its not in stores.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfmalo DFMALO

    I was going to say alot of shit but I decided not to cause I don’t want to get into big detail. Honestly this album is fantastic and is really needed. I’m not sure what’s wrong with this reviewer. A real Sha album review should be posted at http://www.cratescienz.blogspot.com in a few days. I’m not really saying this to plug my homies site. This reviewer really doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. He must have Cucci Mane up in his ride right now.

  • Alex

    Incredible album. Nuff said, only an L? What a shame.

  • http://www.spatemag.com SPATE Magazine

    I have to agree with everyone else on that one. The album is definitely an XL and its a classic.

  • Na Wa O

    NO seriously, the first thing I thought when I read the review is: Did this guy even listen to the album. Not that I’ve heard it but when a reviewer actually does his job, he does more than scribble a few scrawny lines about it. If it deserves an S he would at least give a plausible explanation for the rating. If not that I currently HATE ‘Hiphopdx’ new web design I wouldnt have even looked up this album review. Bad reviewer!! Bad Bad reviewer.

  • Casso

    If XXL writers aren’t even going to pretend to put any effort into writing reviews, what’s the point in publishing them?

    Seriously, whether the writer liked the album or not doesn’t matter. At least give us a thoughtful take on it. This shit reads like it was written 10 minutes before deadline after one cursory listen to the record.

  • jakineko

    Give this man his due, originality is beyond L.

  • CrowleyHead

    If you’re going to write about this album, and the only negative you have is that it’s dense, which is something rare in hip-hop…

    Y’know, the least you can do is go for the 4. Or 4.5.

  • kj

    straight Bull5hit. This album is an XL easy. Fuck this website and everyone attached for so carelessly reviewing an album. This album is all around great and I’ve been listening to it since it’s been out til this day.

  • http://mathehottesttopics.info/ Logan Prata

    Do you know of the content reminds me of one other very much the same one who Someone said someplace else?

  • TOMBOi

    Sha Stimuli is the “Bruce Springsteen” of hip hop! Not one to talk about money, drugs, women and the fast life. He decided to put his heart on the line, be honest and talk about GOD, life/death, good vs evil and LOVE. This was a breath of fresh air for ADULT rap listeners. This CD can easily be a MTV UNPLUGGED PERFORMANCE. MTV are you listening?

    Sha Stimuli’s mixtape Unsung/The Garden of Eden is coming soon.

  • Anonymous

    No effort review. Put some god damn effort into it and give albums a fair listen before reviewing, not a skim through a few of the songs. Then actual explain what was or wasnt good about the album. Very amateur.

    Should be rated XL, with originality at XXL