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“Manic Depression” is the one and only studio album by Atlanta-based rap group Strugglin’ Souls. Released in 1992 under the labels Crazy Vibe Entertainment and Ichiban Records, the album showcases the group’s boom bap and conscious style, with a unique blend of social commentary and street-smart lyrics. Comprising 14 tracks, this project captures the essence of the early 90s hip-hop scene.
The album begins with “Phunky Behavior,” setting the stage with its infectious beats and clever wordplay. As the album unfolds, listeners are treated to tracks like “Nappy Head N Saggy Jeans” and “Ain’t Phunky No’ Moe,” which display the group’s distinctive style and powerful storytelling. With “Who Dat Mon” and “Hey Boy,” Strugglin’ Souls further demonstrate their ability to create memorable hooks and engaging verses.
The title track, “Manic Depression,” delves into the emotional turmoil and challenges faced by many in the urban landscape. This introspective track is complemented by “Grind” and “Rough Neck Anthem,” which emphasize the group’s resilience and determination.
“Betta Dayz,” featuring saxophone by D.J. Tricky D and vocals by Layne Arnold, adds a jazzy touch to the album, while “Ghetto Than A Mutha Fucka” and “Can’t Find My Tribe” reflect the group’s grounded reality and pursuit of identity. “Who’s The One U Love” and “I Got Tossed” showcase Strugglin’ Souls’ ability to explore different themes, further enriching the listening experience. The album concludes with “Seen’ Cha Black,” a strong finish to an exceptional project.
“Manic Depression” is a prime example of the talent and potential of Strugglin’ Souls. The album’s unique fusion of boom bap and conscious rap, combined with the group’s undeniable skill and creativity, make it a noteworthy addition to the early 90s hip-hop landscape.
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