A founding member of Souls of Mischief and The Hieroglyphics, rapper and producer A-Plus is ready to unleash the first of a series of free instrumental projects. Think Tank highlights A-Plus’s sample-chopping and beat-blending skills – from the triumphant horns and vocal coos on “Always Be the Same,” to multi-layered guitar picks on “Nothing At All,” to the lonely, crying strings on “Hear Me Out.” As A-Plus says, “One reason I chose the name Think Tank was because I like my tracks to emote and to make people feel as they listen.”
It’s already been a remarkably busy year for A-Plus. Just a week ago, a deluxe 20th anniversary edition of Souls of Mischief’s classic ’93 Til Infinity was released by Get On Down, and last month Okayplayer premiered another one of his solo projects, Molly’s Dirty Water, an experimental trip into dub-step and electronic. A-Plus explains, “I made Think Tank with the purpose of letting people know that although I have stepped into a different realm with my production, my roots are in hip-hop, and I’m still a hip-hop producer. And always will be.”
For nearly two decades, A-Plus has been honing his skills as producer, artist, and businessman as a founding member of Hieroglyphics and Souls Of Mischief. He and AAGEE joined forces as production team Compound 7 to earn production credits on albums such as A-Plus’ My Last Good Deed and Casual’s Smash Rockwell LP. Their concept album, Pepper Spray, which features fellow Hiero member Del The Funky Homosapien, reimagined some of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ most epic tracks.
Starting with their landmark debut ’93 ’til Infinity, Oakland’s four-person rap group Souls of Mischief blazed the trail for hip hop’s evolution. Members Tajai, A-Plus, Phesto, and Opio have left their mark sonically, lyrically, and stylistically on Kanye West, Just Blaze, Big Sean, Big K.R.I.T., P. Diddy, Vampire Weekend, John Mayer, and many more who have cited them as cultural icons and influencers.
Souls is also credited as having pioneered the independent label movement when they started Hieroglyphic Imperium Records in 1997 following their departure from JIVE Records, creating the infrastructure blueprint for other successful independent hip hop labels.
Co-founders of the Hiero label also include emcees Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Casual, Pep Love, and producer Domino. Souls also forged hip-hop’s relationship with the skate, surf, and snowboard communities after iconic skate brands included their music in their VHS videotapes in the mid-90s. The group’s creative output and legacy as a whole continues to thrive, and they show no sign of stopping.