Nicólas Soul released the thought-provoking album titled “SoulLESS”. When asked about the name of this album, Nicólas Soul explains that the name is based upon two concepts. This album discusses the theme of growing fame and the idea that somebody must sell their soul to achieve it, hence the name, “SoulLESS”.
"SoulLESS” begins with “SoulSESSION”; a lyrical masterpiece that creates the perfect introduction to this intellectually complicated album. “SoulSESSION” introduces the theme through rapid delivery and an ambitious approach. “MSII” transitioned in, and this quickly took the album to a different dimension. “MSII” kept the lyrical roots of the album intact with Nicolas Soul’s abilities, however, the energy felt more hype and exciting. The hook in “MSII” is hard-hitting and exhilarating. Nicolas Soul shifts his inflection throughout the track, providing new aspects to his rap personality.
A noteworthy track on this album is “Break N Entry”. What stands out the most is the cinematic, yet raw police sirens that create a gritty setting for the song. Nicolas Soul is more than just a rapper; he knows how to spit. His flow in “Break N Entry” was insane, his breath control was immaculate, and his cadence was unique. After “Break N Entry”, “2 A.M. Buzz reveals another dimension to the project. “2 A.M. Buzz” showcases melodies with a stylish autotune that creates a more urban R&B sound.
Of course, Nicolas Soul showcases his tough bars, but he manages to switch up the sound, providing new aspects to the album. “Lost & Faded” continues this melodic approach to “soulLESS” with a passionate R&B arrangement that is mesmerizing. “Lost & Faded” is the kind of song that generates great traction in the album and showcases Nicolas Soul’s impressive artistry. It is a cleverly-written addition to this album. The next song goes in a different direction.
“Closure Interlude” is more of a dialogue than a song. The words hit like a wrecking ball because of their honesty and inspiration. “Closure Interlude” is moving. The song leaves its mark through a piece of wisdom that can be taken into anyone’s personal life. “808s & Solace”, alongside “QLC”, create a hazy atmosphere that encourages the listener to get lost within the music. These songs allow the listener to soak up not only the aesthetic of the music but the lyrics too. The words are meant to manifest in our memories. Nicolas Soul did a wonderful job of displaying his ability to shift the dynamics and change the vibe into something more relaxed and calming.
The closing track on this album was “soulSESSION, Pt. II”. This is an admirable closure that takes listeners back to the opening track. However, this approach felt more like a goodbye. Listening to “soulSESSION, Pt. II” feels more like a “thank you for listening and I hope you enjoyed the journey”, kind of exit. It tends to establish a storybook concept for the album. Nicolas Soul is an incredible hip-hop artist who has been releasing music over the past few years and stands at the crossroads of rap, R&B, pop music and more. His ferocity and conscious mind contribute to the impression of bold, yet substantial lyrics in each song. “SoulLESS” is an impressive construct of material that makes Nicólas Soul memorable.
Listen to “SoulLEES” by Nicolas Soul here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Nicólas Soul! Can you start out by introducing yourself to our readers and telling us a bit about your background and what inspired you to pursue music?
Yeah sure thing. Hey guys, I go by the name of Nicólas Soul and I’m a 22 year old Kenyan-American hip hop artist. Looking back on how my life has unraveled, I agree with the idea that everything happens for a reason. My story began in a little town called Homa Bay, Kenya, which is located on the east side of Africa. I was born in November 1997, and I briefly lived in Kenya until the Winter of 2003, when my family moved to Nashville, TN. Living in Nashville only furthered my love for music and even introduced me to new genres.
I learned early that “Music is the universal language.” Even as a Kenyan, someone who couldn’t even understand English, I still could feel this inexplicable connection to the songs I heard as a child. Whether my mood was happy, angry, or even sad, there was a song that expressed it; I honestly needed that catharsis as I transitioned into a new life. After all, I was a kid not just from another city or state, but from a different country trying to adjust. For a long time, music was the one friend which opened its arms to embrace and guide me through my trials.
I fell in love with a wider range of music in Nashville, and I now have the courage to become a musician. I know my journey has barely begun even though I’ve been making music since 2012. I’m exhilarated and scared. I’m excited to experience new settings, excited to increase my knowledge, and most of all I’m excited to grow with my first American friend, Music.
“SoulLESS” was an amazing release! Can you explain to us more about the concept and what personal experiences helped you relate to the songs on this album?
The album is tied together by the first four lines of “Not Waving, but Drowning” by
Stevie Smith: Nobody heard him, the dead man / But still he lay moaning / I was much further out than you thought / And not waving but drowning.
The concept lies in this idea:
In movies, when someone is drowning they begin flailing their arms for help, but to a casual passerby, they look like they’re waving. However, they’re on the brink of death. The theme of the album lies in the idea that fame is like drowning. Famous people might show signs that they need help, but to the audience, they’re “waving” or look happy and content. The album is the complete journey of an artist going from a nobody to a somebody and dealing with these issues that fame brought them. Essentially me warning myself to be very sure that this is the path I want to take in this industry.
We noticed the opening of “SoulSESSIONS” and “SoulSESSIONS Pt. II”, how does the opener and closer of this album differentiate from one another and in what ways did you ensure this?
The funny thing about those two songs, in particular, is that they originally were two interludes put together to make a whole song in the first draft of the album. However, and shout out to my friend Shiki Quentrell who pointed it out, they reflect two completely different mind frames. While this could’ve work thematically, I think the distance between them in the project adds more emphasis to the switching of perspectives. The concept of the “soulSESSIONs” is essentially just a vent piece to articulate my current thoughts. Sometimes they can seem paranoid and fleeting, while other times I can come to a new understanding. The first soulSESSION shows how the concept of fame can make the average person extremely paranoid. It isn’t until the artist in soulLESS goes through the woes of it, that he begins to understand his personal relationship with it. Side note: I’m super into conceptual driven albums, so this isn’t me saying “Ohh I’m so famous look at how hard my life is”, cause I’m not haha. I’m very aware of this. I just like building worlds for people who listen to me. Taking them on an experience like an audio movie. That’s why the project is so layered.
What were some arrangements you experimented within this album? We noticed the variety of different genres that transitioned throughout this project.
When I first came to the States, I was exposed to a bunch of alternative rock bands (Linkin Park, Evanescence, Three Days Grace, etc) before I really got into hip hop music. I also had this pop phase after Lady Gaga got super big as well. I say to illustrate the point that I’m influenced by a lot of different genres & I listen to a bunch of artists who are also influenced by a bunch of genres. So the fact that my music reflects this, I feel is only natural. The most important thing for me during the album creation process was making sure that it flowed seamlessly despite changing genres. That experimentation will always be in my music.
What can we expect to see from you throughout 2020?
I got a 3 track EP coming the day before Valentine’s Day and I plan to re-release a deluxe edition of soulLESS. I wanted to get it remastered because I really feel like that would take it to the next level. The EP coming before Valentine’s Day has a lot to do with this recent trip I took to California. It was my first time going and I got really inspired while there and decided to create some vibes. I just wanna get better in 2020. In every way possible. As an artist. A performer. It just feels like it’s time to level up. I’m ready for it.