Tajai, along with fellow Souls of Mischief emcees A-Plus, Opio and Phesto, got a taste of success early. Tajai was just 18 in 1993 when the group’s debut album “93 ’Til Infinity” dropped. Early is relative, however; by that time, Tajai had been rapping with A-Plus for a decade.
Now, the Oakland natives — who are also part of the hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics — are embarking on a tour celebrating their quintessential album.
“In hindsight, it’s weird that we’re still eating off this,” Tajai said. “We were thinking we were going to be the best thing since sliced bread, so in that sense we failed, but…”
But people still love “93 ’Til Infinity,” especially its title track. The album remains timeless due to its honesty — Souls members never were anything but themselves, not succumbing to the will of what was then a rapidly developing hip-hop mainstream.
“I’m not a gangster or a pimp, so that’s not the experience I rap about unless I’m playing a character; we can just be real with it,” Tajai said.
That means occupying the gray area that is underground hip-hop. Their albums are jazz-influenced alt-rap, with more to offer melodically than something solely 808 focused.
That’s why their decision to travel with a six-piece band is so appropriate.
On tour, the Souls of Mischief are playing “93 ’Til Infinity” in its entirety, they have four other records to cull from, and they’ll perform classics from the whole canon as well as some new material.
Twenty years into “Infinity,” and the name seems entirely appropriate; the anthem hasn’t gone by the wayside. Buzz Lightyear would be proud.
What: Souls of Mischief
When: 8 p.m., Thursday
Where: Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis