The former battle champ Soul Khan recently released his EP ‘Pursuance,’ entirely produced by Audible Doctor, and has some surprises in store for those that expect a Canibus type fiasco (i.e. a highly talented battle emcee falling flat when trying to reach beyond his established tropes). With all production duties handled by a single beatsmith, at least sonic cohesion is almost garantueed, but Soul Khan thankfully has little trouble crafting engaging songs over the organic soul chops the doctor prescribed him.
Opening track ‘Hold On’ makes good use of Soul Khan’s deep voice while he flexes his vocal muscles on some surprisingly effective singing. The rest of the song is less surprising as it’s basically Khan bragging and boasting his way through it, which shouldn’t surprise anyone he can handle seemingly effortlessly. Its sense of humour and do-it-for-self ethos are commendable; he busts references that make those in their late twenties the youngest still able to catch them like “Chilling with a mean chick like Dylan in the Peach Pit” and his Ronald Reagan line is even lampooned in the outro of the song itself. Catering to a preconceived audience is clearly of no concern.
More topical material can be found on tracks like the earlier leak ‘Someone’s Pocket,’ which touches on relatable topics of artistic integrity and facing the recession while still maintaining an upbeat vibe. The true gem of the EP however, is ‘Mr. Governor’ featuring Akie Berniss on the hook, a song that manages to strike the perfect blend of raising a heavy topic (the death penalty) without sounding preachy. The passionate but somehow still conversational tone of the lyrics make a great case for Khan’s stance on the issue (the death penalty in itself is inhumane) and the closing line about the Troy Davis case underscore it chillingly and poignantly.
It’s impact even bleeds through in the ending track ‘Ra’s Al Ghul,’ where the name of the classic Batman foe who keeps on resurrecting himself is used as a metaphor for never giving up. “Strike me down and I’ma still come back” the bespectacled warrior croons in the chorus of the song, which has a dope but unnecessary remix tacked on straight after the end. It honestly can’t even be described as a real glitch though, both tracks have a distinct sound and mesh well with their identical verses. Able to both rock traditional verses and tackle enticing subject matter, from ‘Hold On’ to ‘Ra’s Al Ghul’ it becomes clear that Soul Khan’s ‘Pursuance’ is an act to be appreciated. Rock on.