Review: Clear Soul Forces – Still

Clear Soul Forces - Still

We reviewed Clear Soul Forces’ new album, Still.

It’s been way too long since we last wrote about Clear Soul Forces. So when I heard they had a new album out, I had to right that wrong. The acclaimed Detroit trio released Still, their first full-length album in four years after numerous solo projects in that time.

The last joint LP was Fab Five, released back in 2015. And while each member has made names for themselves individually, it was only a matter of time before they “got the band back together”.

The beats

A hip hop group from Detroit cannot make an album without the best beats possible. When you come from the Midwest, it’s a prerequisite. And CSF did not disappoint in that department. There are plenty of heavy boom bap stonkers (Hit Me Now, Diamond Rhymin’, Don’t Stop), house rhythms (Sword Play, Pump Pump), and a seductive 70s-style interlude (Still Interlude). The majority of Still is of the boom bap variety but CSF keep it fresh. Don’t Stop ends the album and lives up to its name with two beats over 7 and a half minutes.

The rhymes

The best part about the four-year gap is the group didn’t rest on their laurels. Each member went their own way and continued to hone their craft. When the time came to get back in the studio as a group, everyone was ready to spit top grade bars with as many pop culture references as their vocabularies could muster.

My favourite rhyme on the album came from Noveliss on Diamond Rhymin’:

Diamond rhymin’ I’m, Diamond Dallas Page
Refusing to join the NWO on the biggest stage (Diamond Cutter!)
Diamond Cutters for those who oppose the culture
Middle finger to Hollywood Hogan (You know somethin’ bro)


His whole verse was littered with references (and I love when rappers do that), but hearing those DDP lines felt electric. There was even a Ric Flair homage at the very end and I know K.I.N.E.T.I.K was loving that.

The concept

There isn’t a deep meaning on Still. It’s an album where CSF shake off any group cobwebs and rap about what they feel. There are nods to the title and what it might mean but nothing philosophical. Everything is feel-good and free-flowing, as even the most structured and complex concept albums should be.

Verdict

The greats could go four years between projects and perform like they’d never left. But times have changed and irrelevance flaps like a warning flag in the wind. Clear Soul Forces isn’t the kind of group to care about things like that and it shows on Still. The group joked with what the title meant at the end of Dinner Time but for me, it represents the fact they’re still here and they’ve still got it as a group.

Buy: Amazon | iTunes | Bandcamp

4.1/5

About Luke Alex Davis

Luke Davis is a music producer and editor of music blog Sampleface. In his spare time, he enjoys watching tennis and football and reading.

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