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Oakland Filmmaker Shomari Smith Making Documentary About Souls Of Mischief's "93 'Til Infinity"

Posted by Billyjam, October 22, 2012 01:40pm | Post a Comment

Teaser for the in-production documentary on Souls Of Mischief's
93 'Til Infinity

The above trailer/teaser for the ongoing production of the documentary about the Souls of Mischief's album 93 'Til Infinity offers a nice taste of what's to come with the 2013 release of this in-depth documentary on the famed Hieroglyphics crew's landmark 1993 debut album. "I've conducted over 50 interviews with notable emcees, producers and DJs for this project," said Oakland filmmaker/lifelong Souls fan Shomari Smith who is still busily working on this film which will be a must-see for Hiero fans. For the documentary, in addition to interviewing the entire Hiero Crew, Smith has also interviewed such folks as A Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg (fellow Jive Records label-mate back at that time in the early 90's), Dante Ross (the highly respected A&R rep who signed Del and was involved with the Hieros development in their early years), and former KMEL DJ Sway (among the local Bay Area radio DJs to promote the Souls early on in their career). 

"The film is scheduled for release in September of 2013, exactly 20 years from the original release date for the album," director Shomari Smith told me last week noting that, "This documentary will show the Souls as you have never seen them before. They are discussing their early creative process while making the legendary demo. They share personal stories about each album track. They discuss the single “93 'Til infinity” and it’s longevity, and they talk about going independent and moving forward into the future." Indeed the Souls and the other Hieros (Del, Casual, Extra Prolific, etc.), who all got dropped by their respective labels all before they had an opportunity to fully shine, were among the early wave of hip-hop online pioneers in the mid nineties to adapt to the Internet as a means of distribution of their music.

So how did the idea for this film come about? "The idea for the documentary spawned from an invitation for the Souls of Mischief to perform the album 93 ‘Til Infinity in it’s entirety at the 2011 Rock the Bells music festival," said filmmaker Smith. "The Souls asked me if I was interested in capturing the performances on video. In a conversation with Damani “Phesto Dee” Thompson of the Souls we began to bounce around ideas about how to approach the shooting for the shows and realized we had an opportunity to create something more around these performances with the 20 year anniversary of the album on the horizon. We thought it would be great to take a look back and discuss the album, the era, and it’s longevity."
 
And this, it appears, Smith has been achieving (and some). Having done so much research and conducted as many interviews as he already has I was curious as to some of the interesting facts he has uncovered along the way? "I discovered that Murs is a huge Souls of Mischief fan and he knows the album  93 ‘Til Infinity word for word. Murs recalls taking every Souls sticker out of every Source magazine he could find in stores back in 1993 and posting them all over his high school buildings." answered Smith adding that, "Dante Ross revealed that the Souls of Mischief had a different name for the group just before getting signed to Jive Records and he strongly suggested they change their name to something a little more “timeless”. DJ Stretch Armstrong says he played the Souls of Mischief’s demo tape on his New York radio show something that was rarely done for west coast artists during that time."

The documentary on 93 'Til Infinity may not be completed for almost another year but the album that is the subject of the film is available now from Amoeba along with other releases by Souls Of Mischief, and such fellow Hieros as Casual and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien (aka Del The Funky Homosapien).


Souls Of Mischief "93 'Til Infinity" (video directed by the late great Michael Lucero) (1993)

Relevant Tags

Tajai Massey (1), Dante Ross (1), Souls Of Mischief (17), Shomari Smith (3)