Vancouver-born producer/rapper Raw Soul with Libyan roots has been a staple on our site for a while now and with a plethora of singles and mixtapes under his belt, he has built an incredible following in the underground scene. His latest effort Daniel-San is a 6 track body of work that compiles some of his story-driven and reflective tracks in one single volume. The title is a reference to the classic Karate Kid flick from the 80s but while only 1 track pays direct homage to the film, the rest of the tracks have a similar theme to the story of the underdog who is seemingly left out but still finds a way to shine amidst all the obstacles around him.
Raw Soul channels the fighting spirit in the opening track “Karate Kid Freestyle”. The production used is dynamic and punchy and sees the Vancouver-born rapper in his element as he drops a plethora of unfiltered bars with much gusto. The track is quite short and is devoid of any hook of some sort but it’s still engaging enough to keep listeners locked in from start to finish. “Peaks & Valleys” is a contemplative tune that dives into the ups and downs of life. Backed by the sombre guitar-driven soundscape provided by XVN, Raw Soul delivers an uplifting performance ripe with encouraging and motivational themes that aim to spark that inner fire in all of us to seize the day despite what may come. “Along The Way” sees Raw Soul searching for the perfect outlet to escape the craziness of this thing called life. He pours his frustrations on the bouncy soundscape produced by Prezzy and sets the tone with lyrics like
“Some days I wanna quit/stop focusing on life/ This strife is cut like a knife I wanna leave behind/Fly away to a great escape, greater place/ Gotta stay away from the frauds and the fakes”.
“Growing Pains (confessions)” tones down the energy of the project with its mellow and reflective vibe made up of sombre guitar plucks and atmospheric textures. Maloh Beats sure crafts the perfect canvas for Raw Soul’s candid and intimate bars that go deep into the soul and show listeners his vulnerable side. “Oblivion (life is blessed)” produced by eeryskies has a dusty jazz/lofi aesthetic and sees Raw Soul in his element kicking unfiltered bravado and insightful bars. He doesn’t hold back with lines like
“I’m honest to the core/ but don’t let it fool ya/Thinking I won’t go to war/Bring your A-game if you trying to rap with me/ Spitting bars for free as a means to unlock the key, that might tell me what it means to see”
and he continues with more contemplative thoughts “I don’t really wanna die but don’t like the sensation when one is felt one with creation/Creator I wonder what then becomes the station/Idle thoughts from an idle man, at times I’m Peter Parker, at times I’m Spider-Man” before closing it out with the mantra “Enjoy it, man, life is blessed”.
The final track “Next Time” produced by odellskies starts off with a soothing vocal sample and lush horns layered over soft boom-bap drums. Raw Soul once again shares his deepest thoughts about the what-ifs of life. What if he doesn’t succeed or what if his destiny was meant for something else? He poses these questions with much gusto and gives listeners something to ponder on and we continue to search for our one true purpose in life.