Selling Live Water

Sole’s the very best kind of antagonist: a hyperactive hodgepodge of confrontation and contradiction. The unofficial spokesperson for the Bay Area-based Anticon label/collective of hip-hop provocateurs is one angry white rapper—with as much bluster as bite. The self-proclaimed “baddest poet” packs his idiosyncratic narratives with equal aggression and amused anxiety; the lyrics are dense, and the pace is furious. Still, repetition and double-tracked vocals give this a chant-like quality, rendering the songs approachable—even soothing after a few listens. Longtime collaborator Alias handles the majority of the production work, with help from Anticon label mates Jel and Odd Nosdam, who anchor the vocals in a swirling soundscape of cluttered beats and off-kilter sound effects. It’s a strikingly original sound, every bit the match for Sole’s ambitious, articulate flows.