REVIEW: Sole’s “No Wising Up No Settling Down”

Sole photo SoleNWU_cover_zps204486d7.jpg Sole has been someone who has put his beliefs and philosophies into his music and non-music efforts, to the point where it is very much a part of his life, not something that is done for attention or publicity. No Wising Up No Settling Down (Black Canyon) consists of lyrics and music that is not about keeping it real or doing anything for hip-hop, but he’s being himself and only himself, with the hope that his messages can get to the minds of people for the sake of changing their lives and living differently from accepted norms.

Hip-hop is the tool that Sole uses in order to get his messages across. He has utilized different styles of music over the years, or unfolding his words into atypical (i.e. arguably unconventional) ways. One might say that that doesn’t represent hip-hop but again, Sole represents Sole, or Tim Holland represents Sole, and this is how he does it. On the album, he attacks the status quo and finds a bit of an alliance with a respected anarchist in “I Think I’m Emma Goldman” while addressing his dietary needs in “My Veganism”. In some tracks, Sole condemns what many rappers are talking about in their music but essentially states that this is their issue, not his (“I used to battle MC’s, then I realized/I need better targets, and I’m not one to play fight”), but change is necessary. As for what makes him angry, ignorant people are very much in his scope in “People Piss Me Off”, but in the end he is going to do what he’s going to do, and if it doesn’t fit someone’s agenda or plan, he’s not going to waste time on what’s not important.

Sole is very much political as he is a social MC, delivering the kind of content in the music very few are doing today in a mainstream sense, for the people, alongside the people. Even if you don’t subscribe to some of the things he states or is fighting for, his words are worth listening to and analyzing, for he’s basically saying that life can be much simpler if we didn’t make any or all issues so complicated to deal with. Fans of his work with Anticon will love what he does in the backdrop that is “Extremeophile”, but this is a passage of moving forward in the mind of Sole. I know on the album he states that he doesn’t like the praise or favoritism, but as someone who has the mind to compose and the urgency for those words to be said and heard, he does what he does because it is a must for him. He has been against things for a long time, and if that moves us to think about what we show support for, perhaps he has done his job. He may not be Montell Jordan but No Wising Up No Settling Down represents how Sole does it, another chapter in what has already been an interesting life story.

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