Soulrane is back again, this time with a crateful of Classic Hip-Hop on “The Golden Era Part Two” plus we get to hear from the DJ himself:
Pulling together Coast to Coast classic joints from the 1990s, Soulrane (@soulrane) takes us back to a time when dope Hip-Hop was the standard and the beats reflected the rawness of the MCs spitting over them.
We strongly advise visiting Soulrane’s Soundcloud and Liking him on Facebook so you’re on the line when he drops this type of serious funk.
Big up to the homie for 1nce again giving the Hip-Hop heads a dope mix with a message:
The second installment of the Golden Era mix series is composed of Rap Artists that were prevalent in the 90′s Hip Hop Music / Break Dancing scenes. The range of lyrics mixed with raw production is a sound that has yet to be duplicated. Far from your ordinary radio rap. Throw on your headphones or lace up the kicks, either way you’re head will be noddin’ to the beat. Listen, learn + enjoy.
We were lucky enough to hear directly from Soulrane so check out the word from a dope DJ & Bboy in Las Vegas:
1. Who is Soulrane?
My real name is Lars. I get asked all the time if its my real name too. Man, why would I give fake name out?! Originally from Las Vegas. People of the Sun is the crew I represent. Deejaying is what I do. Been Breakin’ for almost twenty years as well. Hip Hop is more than responsible for making who I am today.
2. When did you start as a DJ and why?
Long before I ever touched a turntable for deejaying purposes, I was and still am a B-Boy at heart. I started dancing in 1993. Got my first turntables when I was a kid, but I was more into the vibe and lifestyle that Breakin’ portrayed.
I started in the generation where ground-power moves were prevalent. Earned my bald spots, rightfully. The “dancing” part of Breakin’ didn’t come around until about 2000 for me. I began taking deejaying a bit more serious as I grew up though. I noticed that there were deejays playing funkier records, but there was no vibe being created. Just songs being played with no rhythmic order. So I took it upon myself to change that.
The first jams that I was spinning at in Vegas were at the ABC Dance studios (Underdog Battles) with DJ PRESTO ONE (@djprestoone) (Rock Steady Crew) & DJ CHICO SCIENZ (Cartridge Fam). We also used to rock a spot called “The Emergency Room” on Monday nights and the whole scene would attend, drink and battle. ALL NIGHT. These two events really sparked my fire when it came to playing music correctly in a live setting. Plus we were ONLY using vinyl at that time. So your skills couldn’t be sub par, ever.
My first official year deejaying was in 1997. It was a high school gig with my boy, DJ ALPHA Q. Since he (and majority of Vegas’ deejays at the time) were heavy into turntablism, I had no other choice but to follow suit.
Presto was (still is) a wizard on the tables. Any scratching you hear me do, is definitely because of him. There was such a high level of competition back then (plus the DMC battles were just downright RAW). It forced me to fine tune every aspect of my deejaying. If you were only tight in one area, like blending, and your scratches were wack?!! Yeah, you’d get son’d quickly. These laptop-only deejays nowadays have it made in the shade if you ask me.
The reason I still do this today, is due to an the endless amount of music to be found in the world. I get inspired from people’s reactions to music they haven’t heard yet. Especially when you play a track and people give you “the point” from the cyphers.
My passion for music goes beyond playing music for B-Boy events though. Collecting records will never cease in my life. Plus, how can one complain when your job is to make people dance?
3. What draws you to the Hip-Hop/Bboy genre?
Hip Hop definitely saved me from going down a negative path as a teen. Being surrounded by friends in gangs & graffiti crews was a part of everyday life.
One of my main Breakin’ influences, Floor Rock (Rock Skittles / Rock Steady Crew), is still a G until today. Anyone else from that era in Vegas can attest to it. Growing up in the scene with dudes like him in the cypher made you grow up REAL QUICK. Since peeps weren’t afraid to sock you in the dome if you acted up. Plus, the beef was real. You didn’t even shake your opponents hand before or after the battle. It was like, “F*CK HIM and his wack moves”. Regardless of winning or losing.
With all of that being said, it was impossible not to get drawn into the B-Boy scene. Plus the original style of Breakin’ came from an era that was actually rugged. Nowadays you can sign onto the internet and become a B-Boy overnight (in the user’s eyes that is).
Just the struggle of learning how to master any element in Hip Hop takes a lifetime. Plus, when you have nothing as a kid and you’re given something as rich as Hip Hop culture, your mind opens up and you’re given a chance to express yourself (through the culture’s outlets). There is an infinite amount of freedom to create. That point alone should drive anyone who’s serious about Hip Hop for a lifetime.
4. Las Vegas is one of the top tourist destinations on the planet, and is known throughout the world as a party city full of lights and good times. What’s it like to live there?
Living in Vegas is not what people perceive it to be. The clubs and any venue on the Strip lacks a luster that draws a real Hip Hop crowd. The entire city’s income is based off of entertainment. So, if you aren’t playing the songs THEY WANT YOU TO PLAY (the drunk tourists who spend money + uninformed management), then you’re not a good deejay.
F*ck that noise. That’s why parties like “The Get Back” took off and lasted so long. It was one of the first places that allowed the true essence of deejaying to be showcased (playing actual vinyl). Plus, all of the street dancers would come out. From the B-Boys to the freestyle dancers. It gave us a place to unite, hear great music and not be frowned upon. Like they do in the fist-pumping-techno-garbage parties on the Strip.
Nowadays Vegas has become this mecca for talented dancers of all backgrounds. There are people from crews all over the world that live and work here. Even our own native crews have made it beyond the scene and into a more professional setting (Jabbawockeez).
The lifestyle in Vegas is definitely a 24 hour thing. You can eat, drink and party anytime you want to here. When the next day hits, no one remembers a damn thing. Then, repeat.
5. Your selections, productions, and remixes imply influences from Jazz, Soul, R&B, Funk, and of course Hip-Hop. What are you listening to for your own enjoyment?
I listen to everything. Except the radio and country music. Both of those lack substance in my eyes. I keep my ears open to new sounds from all over the world too. Sometime I’ll be on a Jazz kick for months (heavily into the Blue Note catalogs for sure). Then all of a sudden I discover a producer making House music from South Africa, and the “bug out” process repeats.
I grew up listening to Classic Rock, Funk, Soul, Hip Hop and Reggae records everyday during my childhood (thanks to my Parents). So those influences run deep for me.
One of the best ways I practice without ever touching the turntables, is to actually listen to the music. Don’t practice, don’t dance, don’t do a damn thing. Let the song sink into your brain until you know it naturally. Then, take it to the tables or the floor and apply your skills after the fact. I do this with all genres that I collect. That way, when you hear me play live, I’m not just flipping a track I know nothing about musically.
6. You’ve got a number of high-level events coming up across the United States, and you’re dropping mixes every few weeks. What are you most excited about?
In my eyes, all events are equally important. I could care less about deejaying for “well known” competitions anymore. It’s about the music for me. You can throw the biggest jam with thousands of people attending, but if the music is off, it shows how much you cared about producing a good event (for the people).
Recently, 1 Round Killer (St. Louis – BBoy Airsick’s jam) was an event that I actually had fun at. There were cyphers all night long (even during the battles) and the energy of the event never weakened. That’s what set this jam apart for me. People came to dance and enjoy the event from all over the country!
Most of all, I’m always thankful that anyone hits me up to spin. It keeps me grounded. Knowing that what I do, for myself (first and foremost), gives people a reason to reach out to me.
7. What message do you have for the Bboys, Bgirls, and Hip-Hop heads around the world?
One thing I have to stress is, BE YOURSELF. Always.
We all have our own influences and reasons behind our methods. Let those influences peek out in between your own creations. Exact mimicking of another person’s creation shows that you’re learning blindly (in one direction).
Do research outside of the internet too. Ask a person who’s been in your local Hip Hop scene for 20+ years about their journey. It will give you endless insight to use (and pass on) for a lifetime.
Thanks again to DJ Chief for this interview and utmost support!
Promising to never be wack,
People of the Sun Crew
Las Vegas, NV.
Thanks again to the homie Soulrane for taking the time, and in case you missed it, dig the “Valentines Boom Bap” mixtape from the Salty Fam Excursions series (which you can also hear at RadioBboy.com):