Clear Soul Forces leads Detroit hip hop’s next generation
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
While the veterans of Detroit hip hop have made their city’s reputation for the art world class, the next generation of young artists is proving capable of carrying the torch to new limits of creativity.
Members of hip hop group Clear Soul Forces are leaders among this new generation and have distinguished themselves as innovative and imaginative for fans of the music, seeking a revival of the musical vibrancy that first made hip hop relevant around the globe.
The music and energy of Clear Soul Forces is a throwback reminiscent of hip hop’s golden era of the early 1990s, when the music was fueled by a raw enthusiasm for soulful, melodic instrumentals matched with lyrics that display linguistic creativity and a passion for making a positive life out of the urban struggle.
Last year proved to be a breakout year for Clear Soul Forces, as members Ilajide, E-Fav, Noveliss and L.A.Z. released their debut album “Detroit Revolution(s)” in March 2012, featuring the lead single “Get No Better.”
In January 2012, the music video for “Get No Better” was released on the Internet, with the four members seen interchanging rap verses on a rooftop with the sun beaming on them, a colorful visual package of their distinct personalities matched with a song undeniably energetic and infectious. The song reached several hundred thousand viewers within the first month of its release and now has over 2.2 million views.
The group explains their wish is to continue to gain exposure to fans in Detroit and around the world, “hopefully, learning the game. People out here have got to see us,” says L.A.Z.
“We started out at Bob’s Classic Kicks,” says L.A.Z. “It went from there to rocking shows in Atlanta to doing stuff in Brooklyn. Hopefully, people just see the value in investing in themselves because they’ve seen us do that.”
The group has steadily performed shows in the city and around the country in the past year, working hard to grow their fan base organically so the business aspect of the group can help the four young men, all in their early 20s, become successful as music industry professionals.
The group will follow up the success of “Detroit Revolution(s)” with the release of their upcoming album “Gold PP7s,” which is scheduled to be released in the fall.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff on the business end holding things up,” says Noveliss, “but when it comes out, it’s going to be national, so it’ll be pretty good for us.”
With access to their own recording studio, Clear Soul Forces is able to stay in constant touch with their creative energy for the music, with new three new singles having been released over the past several months through their online Bandcamp Web site, including the songs “Won Too,” “Freq Freq” and “Beats x Rhymes x Life,” which is officially the first single from the upcoming “Gold PP7s” album. The new video for “Beats x Rhymes x Life” was released on May 28.
“I think it’s going to come back to people doing their own thing and being original,” says Noveliss, “not trying to copy other people and just being themselves because that’s what we do. Being yourself and being original is what it’s all about, and I think that that’s what it’s going to come back to.”
In addition to the recorded music, the group has developed a great reputation for their live shows, with the four members interchanging verses and commanding the crowd’s full participation. Ilajide, the group’s primary music producer, flawlessly moves from the background of the stage setting up the instrumental tracks to front stage directly in view of the fans giving it his all through the microphone.
On May 24, Clear Soul Forces rocked at The Old Miami with Cold Men Young and Detroit CYDI, two of Detroit’s other premier hip hop groups, as well as RenCen Coolbeanz. The show had the Cass Avenue bar packed with a young urban audience excited for the city’s current roster of top rap artists.
The four members are well liked as individuals by many in city’s hip hop scene, older and younger generations alike, and also well respected for their craft and dedication to continuing the legacy of Detroit hip hop’s greatness.
They appear to be quick to accept all of the lessons that come to them about becoming successful in music.
“I heard from an OG,” says E-Fav, “you don’t try to reinvent the wheel. And I hope that cats learn that being original and sticking to yourself is still something that’s viable in hip hop, it’s just that people are looking for that. And you can still be successful doing it.”
For more information, visit the Clear Soul Forces Web site at www.forceswithyou.com, or visit www.clearsoulforces.bandcamp.com to purchase their music.