Duo innovates raps with socially conscious lyrics

Ben Breier

Soul Position raps about real issues, not grillz

Blueprint and RJD2 are all about the music in their hip-hop group, Soul Position. COURTESY OF RHYMESAYERS ENTERTAINMENT

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Beatmaster RJD2 and rapper Blueprint combine to make Soul Position – a hip-hop outfit straight out of the Columbus music scene who elect to rap about meaningful issues in society as opposed to bling bling, 20-inch rims and 24-karat gold grillz.

“You can’t write a verse without talking about your gun or about your rims on your car and how they spin,” Blueprint said on mainstream rappers. “At this point, it’s cliched and played out.”

The band’s mission statement is crystal clear on “No Gimmicks,” the opening song off of Soul Position’s new album Things Go Better With RJ And Al. Blueprint raps “No major label power moves, no costumes…no gold fronts, no publicity stunts.” For Soul Position, the music is the bottom line – and nothing else.

Blueprint got his musical start by participating in church bands and choirs as a teenager. After that, he slowly became interested in R&B and casually DJing at parties, which he said ultimately got him interested in making independent music.

“My goal is to make every record completely different,” Blueprint said – who has made typical full-length records as well as instrumental albums. “I think Soul Position is completely different. RJD2 fans won’t listen to this and say ‘Hey, this sounds like an RJ record.'”

RJD2 has similar feelings about the mainstream hip-hop scene.

“In any genre, there are going to be people who do it well and people who do it poorly,” RJD2 said. “Take Nelly for instance – I really don’t care for him. I’m very finicky about rappers now-a-days, it takes a lot for me to give a shit.”

RJD2 cites Beanie Siegel, Snoop Dogg and Freeway among mainstream rappers who he currently approves of. What he doesn’t approve of is how rap is presented through outlets such as MTV and BET.

Soul Position

Where? The Grog Shop

When? 9 p.m Saturday

How much? $12

“There’s not a counterpoint to what’s presented. If you’re going to see a rap video, it’s going to be about one kind of thing – you won’t see much of anything that is being presented from the opposite side,” RJD2 said. “Black males being productive, being adults, taking care of children – that’s not the kind of image that’s being fostered on television at all within the music world.”

However, despite the fact that RJD2 avoids rap stereotypes, he said doesn’t praise himself for doing something completely different.

“I’m not the kind of person who likes to sit around and be self-congradulatory and pat myself on the back,” RJD2 said.

Not every song on Soul Position’s latest release is a super-serious criticism on society. On “Blame It On The Jager,” Blueprint raps about what happens when you go out to a club and have a little too much to drink while concurrently presenting hilarious and perceptive lyrics, such as “When I was sober that broad looked like Al Gore / now she looks a lot more like Demi Moore.”

“I want to present real situations in a fun way. That song makes me seem more human to people,” Blueprint said. “I’m not saying ‘stop drinking so much,’ but I think it’s cool for me to put that theme out there in a light-hearted manner.”

Soul Position has recently completed a sold-out show in Toronto, and is performing in Cleveland this Saturday at the Grog Shop – just make sure you visit the merchandise table for some fun.

“It’s like the checkout line at the supermarket,” Blueprint said. “It’s where you actually meet the fans.”

Contact assistant ALL editor Ben Breier at [email protected].