Why We Love Ra-Soul, Deep House’s Hidden Genius

His new collaborative project with Don Crisp, Black In Time, opens a new page with the searing Malcolm X-sampled Democracy is Hypocrisy.

If you don’t know who Ra-Soul is, then I think it’s time I turn gnarly old man on your ass. Ra-Soul is one of the ten most talented guys to ever do this – his sound for me pretty much defined what a “Deep House record” is supposed to sound like. Go back and flip through Ra-Soul’s discography (he seems to be going by the hyphenated version now, but check it out under RaSoul and Rasoul). Pay extra special attention to the the records on 83 West and Chicago’s Large and you’ll hear a sound that hasn’t aged a day, it’s fresh and unblemished by the ravages of time, preserved the way precious few recordings from the era have been. Some people have bigger discographies (and that isn’t necessarily something to brag about) but Ra-Soul has more gems than almost any of them.

Speaking of timeless – likewise with Malcolm X’s speech which gives Democracy is Hypocrisy its title. His searing denunciation of police brutality is just as biting and as bitterly true today as it was in the scratchy, flat black-and-white reel that captured it. The track cuts it in & out, in & out, each flair from Malcolm X’s speech like a lightning strike. This could be just a simple beat track with a sample and it would be effective, but the rising intensity of percussion, the subtle introduction of flecks of acid and the timing of the drops makes it devastating.

Black In Time is the name Ra-Soul’s collaboration with Don Crisp. It may not be new, but it’s at least the first time I’m hearing it. A comeback? I’ll tell you what: grab Ra-Soul’s discography and listen to them one by one. All of the records on that shelf may as well have been made yesterday. Democracy Is Hypocrisy is a fine extension of it.

Black In Time: Democracy is Hypocrisy / Crisp Recordings
A1. Black In Time: “Democracy Is Hypocrisy” (original)
A2. Black In Time: “Democracy Is Hypocrisy” (instrumental)
B1. Black In Time: “Democracy Is Hypocrisy” (Acid mix)



Our House Is Open To Everyone: Originally published in 5 Mag issue 172 with Dawn Tallman, Hot Toddy, Benji Candelario, DJ Rocca, Detroit’s Filthiest & more. Help support 5 Mag by becoming a member for just $1 per issue.