How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Following up their acclaimed debut Underground Railroad , the Masterminds’ Stone Soup is an intelligent and refreshing album. On first listen, the grinding production, all distorted guitars, subdued horn stabs and snares rattling like gun claps, is nothing special and even monotonous at times. But what makes Stone Soup one of the most relevant hip-hop albums of the time is the Masterminds’ incisive lyrics, slicing through the artificial hip-hop fakers and delivering on-point social commentaries with wisdom and passion. On "Raiders of the Lost Art", they dismiss the pillaging of hip-hop culture by the frat-rock set with venom, "It’s open mic night so pick your penance, bid that nerd-rap Fred Durst crap good riddance." Stone Soup is a no-nonsense, no frills album that drops knowledge on every track and reveals introspective soul searching that is lacking on most tight-beats-and-dope-rhymes underground albums. Subliminal spits fire on the media, music industry and those that follow it mindlessly, "Programmed musical individuals you are." The highlight of the album is undoubtedly "September In New York", a drum & bass influenced ode to the after effects of 9/11, poignantly describing and celebrating a newfound appreciation for life in the worst of times. Stone Soup shows hip-hop at its lyrical best – observant, witty and thought-provoking.