Maybe the fact that there is always a bar at every concerts, but sometimes making a good song is a lot like mixing a good drink. No matter the drink you wish to make, the steps are always the same. You need the right ingredients and you need to balance it out in order to fulfill your request. Some want a drink that’s light enough to pass the time while others want something a little stronger to knock them on their ass. Some are more concerned with something colorful and sweet. Others want something plain and straight to the point. But a good bartender understands that the best drinks are something that is uniquely potent without losing its exquisite taste that loyal patrons can easily call back to. That is the best way to describe Lyric Marid’s latest project, Sota Seoul.
As heard within his song “Made It Out,” the MC formerly known as Mic Lyric had to find his way out of Minneapolis’ Southside. After working with multiple groups in order to find his way, he soon found his way to a collective of rappers that would later form the record label now known as the Mill City Collective. Equipped with the knowledge that comes from releasing three projects in the span of two years, many of his peers soon were rallied behind the foresight from the man behind the “Purple Wave.” Now after opening shows for era defining artists such as 50 Cent, Mobb Deep and DMX, Lyric Marid was ready to dictate the new period of the Minnesota movement with his fourth album.
“Everybody says that the ‘Minnesota Sound’ is boom bap like Atmosphere and no shade to Slug and them, but I feel like it’s deeper than that” said Lyric Marid. “There’s no type of beat that can determine Minnesota rap because it’s more like a feeling. More genuine, more heartfelt, more soulful. That’s why the project is called Sota Seoul, but I spelled it S-E-O-U-L because my dad is from Seoul, South Korea.”
Much like drawing back upon his heritage, Lyric Marid made a point to look back to his previous releases and culminating their individual concepts into one fully realized project. The hustle began with his first project, Jaycen’s Lyric which Lyric often looks back to with reverence. With a beautiful combination of deeply intimate content and adrenaline fueled bangers, it largely went underappreciated due to a more complacent attitude and demanding complications stemming from recent separation from his son’s mother. As time progressed, he soon found himself before inspired by a new woman in his life that soon blossomed into his tenderhearted, Cakin Season EP. Gaining the newfound fans from local heads and female listeners, Lyric moved forward with his most ambitious project yet, Power Moves. Through the course of the 20 track mixtape, he had recruited over 50 of his most admired local rappers and producers to collaborate on one project to fully unify the Twin Cities vast Hip Hop scene in a way that had never been seen before.
“I started a wave with Power Moves. A lot of people learned that you don’t have to make the same type of music to vibe together in the studio. I got a song like “Hold It Down” with Why Khaliq and Prince Cray. I brought a young hothead out the Northside with mad bars to get on a track with Why Khaliq’s black excellence shit from St. Paul for some turn up shit. They both did they thing and it turned out to be one of everyone’s favorites off of the project. I’m trying to show people that you need to get out of your element and link up with people that not only you think are going to be able to help you clout up, but send off good vibes and genuinely rock with you when you’re around. Then build off of that. When one artist takes off and their collaborations start to surface, that’s when we’re all at the door.”
Taking note of the lasting influence of Power Moves, Lyric Marid soon assembled an all-star lineup of local artists to help create an album that kept with the current chapter within the MN movement. Compiling songs that both matched the political climate in the wake of the police shooting deaths of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile (Another One) as well as the need for to reprieve (Sumn Bout Mary), the heavy set heavyweight delivered on a 15 track testament to a time where the Twin Cities is in a state of resilience and wide eyed wonder in the newfound collaborative success from the DIY culture. Lead by the seminal statewide anthem and regal first single, “Royalty,” Sota Seoul also represents the endearing nature of the grind while celebrating the momentum gained with the passing of every milestone.
Being an album that touches on so much for some many people, no track is more revealing to Lyric Marid than the standout song, “Jaycen” where he boisterously proclaims the source of his inspiration and unquenchable thirst to succeed. Backed by the powerful production of Topper Atwood, the song is carried by the defiant pride that exists within every parent’s heart as the hook resonates with a simple chant “I do it for my son.”
“He picked every beat on Sota Seoul. I would turn the beat on and start vibing with the hooks and shit. If he doesn’t start dancing, next beat. Because of him, I go so hard. I wasn’t like this before I had him. I was content with putting out one project a year, a couple videos and doing a couple shows. Ever since I had him, it’s on overdrive for real for real. That’s the motivation behind this because I know what it’s like to not have shit and I don’t want him to want for nothing. So if I can make that happen by chasing my dreams, I’m about to go as hard as I can to make this shit a reality. I’m working a 9-5 to pay someone to raise my son and once you realize that you are responsible for a life, you don’t want to be working while he is getting raised by someone he doesn’t want to be around. So I’m doing whatever I can now to make sure by the time I’m 30-32, I’m just kicking it with him.”
In order to accomplish this goal, the future arrives quickly for the deliberate and dedicated father as he resumes to his work. Promising to flood the game with multiple months of supporting videos as well as multiple projects (including a continuation in the Power Moves series); Lyric Marid is headstrong in his progression. Although contrary to what some might make of his quick witted persona as it booms above the laughter in the latest roast sessions, he remains a humble man committed and focused on the task of keeping his name singing throughout the state.
As Sota Seoul continues to be heard and starts to age, many fans and aspiring artists should learn from it the same way an aspiring bartender gains from the curricular phrase “hardwork, spirit and soul.” And with a proper mix of heartfelt sincerity, tantalizing taste and invigorating burn of a tequila, it seems that Lyric Marid really does have the “Whole Cup” and we’re all ready for another round.
Check out Sota Seoul above and help Lyric Marid celebrate it’s release with “The Sota Seoul Experience” on Friday, March 31st for a night of music, art and food. Set an undisclosed location, it will feature live performances from Why Khaliq, BdotCroc, Nathan Ejuwa, Major G, Knucky, DJ North Star, DJ Low and the man of the hour. Hosted by Deeply Rooted Tribe and special guests throughout the show. Plus beer pong tournament, live painting with #SukiTheSaint and soul food from Jeffrey “Butta” Johnson with first plate on the house. Purchase your tickets here and prepare for “The Sota Seoul Experience.”