This release marks the final 12" from one of my very favorite Northwest acts, Source of Labor. To me, SOL was the culmination of that era of Seattle hip hop - they blended the prevalent elements of jazz, consciousness, grit, and focus. Emcee Word Sayer never wasted a moment on the mic; his impassioned delivery was fleet-footed and overflowing with information. It was his testimony, and his need to tell it like it is. His urge, or compulsion even, to speak his mind and inform the people, was palpable on the tracks presented here on this 12". His cohort Negus I still maintains one of the top spots in my "favorite beatmaker" category. His beats were as dense and layered as Word Sayer's lyrics, and yet the two amazingly molded their music into one flowing river, rather than battling each other for space. Frequent colaborator Vitamin D (who takes the lion's share of producer credits on this record) usually has a laid-back sound to his music, but with SOL he morphed his beats and scratches to fit the intensity required. Maybe it was Word Sayer's gravity well of influence that caused this, or maybe it was just the right combination of people vibing the right way at the same time; in any case when SOL came together they were like no other act.
This was the leadoff 12" for the bands' only released full-length, Stolen Lives. That was in my headphones all summer when it dropped. Shortly afterwords Source of Labor parted company; going he way of my other favorite acts Black Anger, Sinsemilla, and Ghetto Chilldren; just another nail in the coffin of Seattle hip hop's second wave. Of course Vita still does his thing, Word Sayer now runs a successful management company, and Negus I moved back east, from what I've heard. Things change.
I've also heard that back in the day SOL made an album with ex-co-lyricist Blazay Blah; that album was shelved, but I know I'm not the only one who would love to hear it. Hopefully some day that sees the light of day. For now, listen to this this record, one of the last from this incredible group.