I was recently asked to write a review of #Soul Food 3: A Dedication to Black Women by Kansas City rapper Royce “Sauce” Handy. #SoulFood3 is one of the best examples of midwest hip hop I’ve personally heard in years. It’s old-skool soulful, melodic, honest, jazzy, and authentically Kansas City, but still has plenty of boom bap for hard-core hip hop heads. Sauce is a truly woke MC, delivering an unapologetic, pro-black and Afrocentric celebration of black women and black life.
I’ve alluded to it already, but I was first struck by how melodic and soulful the record is. The first several tracks almost feel like a neo-soul record with their use of chords, strings and horns. The samples and hooks used throughout the project are NICE!
At its core, #SoulFood3 is a protest record. Sauce is an artist who observes the world around him and delivers a sobering commentary on black love, racism, activism, gentrification, economic self-determination, community economics and other themes seldom seen from male artists. The protest is against false external standards seeking to divide and destroy the black community. I don’t believe it is a stretch to compare the content and delivery Sauce gives with the likes of modern-day urban storytellers like Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Kendrick Lamar and Common.
Tracks like the ultra funky Food for Unity and the gospel-infused Two Different Kitchens seem to provide the summary statement of the record’s message of love and respect for self and the women that raised us. The project is anchored by poems and messages of sisters, mothers, activists and professional women in their own voice. These commentaries are spread across the album in a way that stirs the soul. #SoulFood3 is also sonically very interesting without being cluttered, confusing or sounding local. This is important because too often, indie artists frequently die the death of sounding local and unpolished. Sauce passes this test with flying colors.
This album isn’t a collection of random singles put together to make an album. This is a front to back concept record that has a well planned continuity and makes an undeniable statement. This album is home-grown hip hop at its finest. I give it 4 black fists out of 5. 👊🏾👊🏾👊🏾👊🏾
Check out #Soul Food 3: A Dedication to Black Women via free download on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/theycallmesauce/sets/soulfood3-a-dedication-to