Record Review - Soulico: Exotic on the Speaker

A DJ crew composed of four Tel Aviv beatmakers, Soulico blends U.S. hip-hop with traditional Jewish melodies and Israeli folk in a way that feels exotic to American ears while remaining accessible. It helps that the debut CD, Exotic on the Speaker, features many MCs rap heads will be familiar with, including Ghostface Killah, Lyrics Born, Pigeon John and Del the Funky Homosapien. Mainly, however, the disc succeeds because the tracks bounce, and the Middle Eastern-crossover, party flavor will remind listeners of the group’s JDub labelmate Matisyahu. Though Exotic on the Speaker slows down near the end when the mix switches from uptempo rap and dance to slower reggae and dancehall, early tracks like “El Nur” and “Put ‘Em Up” make for an album well worth copping. One is left wondering why no one thought of having Ghostface rap over a pulsing snake-charmer beat before. (JDub Records) 4 stars out of 5