Shining Soul's Anti-Border Hip-Hop Gets Militant on Sonic Smash
by Jeff Moses
MIlitant chicano / indigenous hip hop duo Shining Soul have been putting their gritty brand of rap out for more than three years, and they've got an impressive rep to show for it. Alex Soto and Franco Habre, also known as Liaison and Bronze Candidate, have opened for Mala Rodriguez at Crescent Ballroom and also played Save the Peaks benefit concerts at Rusty Spoke -- basically the Phoenix equivalent of being respected from the streets to the boardroom.
With a battle cry of "hip-hop is resistance," Shining Soul has earned their reputation as a preeminent local hip-hop act through passionate live performances and walking their talk. "Resistance," for Liaison and Bronze Candidate, is more than just a lyric.
Alex and Franco are both Phoenix political organizers well known to both activists, and local police who have gone as far as to reach out to the T'ohono O'Odham reservation looking to tarnish Soto's reputation.
On September 10 Shining Soul released em>Sonic Smash, the follow-up to their 2011 debut, We Got This. Their second release is reminiscent of a time when hip-hop was less refined and the beat took a backseat to the emcee; across the album the beats carry the feel of a late '80s to early '90s West Coast rap.
But the lyrics are where Bronze Candidate and Liaison really shine.