It’s going to be a busy summer for rapper SOULEYE. The San Francisco-based hip hop singer and recording artist kicks off 2021 with a new single, “GHOST STEPS,” which impacts Feb. 12.
The upbeat tune is the lead-off single from his upcoming album, HUNTING TEARDROPS, which is set for a March 19 release. HUNTING TEARDROPS is Souleye’s first album since 2019’s SOUL SCHOOL.
Both “GHOST STEPS” and HUNTING TEARDROPS are the product of what the artist calls “one of the most creative periods of my life.” Each of the tracks were written during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they reflect the creative freedom the rapper experienced over the course of the year, as he explains.
“I turned 40 this year, and with the shutdown, I was spending a lot of time with our kids,” says Souleye. “It’s amazing to see them grow and mature, but I needed some adult time, just to clear my head and be a grownup. The result was just this tremendous burst of creativity.”
Souleye fans will recognize immediately spiritually inspired lyrics and soulful hooks. Also present are the familiar sounds of chiming bowls and hand pans. However, both the single, “Ghost Steps,” and the full album mark a noted departure for the artist. Souleye’s EDM past is still on display, and while each track is signature Souleye, the music becomes background to the vocals, allowing Souleye’s voice to take center stage.
Long-time collaborator BIL BLESS produced HUNTING TEARDROPS. Bless believes the innovative new direction is a result of Souleye’s maturity both as an artist and as a father. The same is true of Bless’s own work, which includes previous Souleye outing IRON HORSE RUNNING.
“I think what I like more, now, and maybe it’s a product of getting older, is just stuff that feels more simple, a little more meditative,” Bless says. “A lot of music I’ve made in the past—and I still make it this way—it’s almost overly complicated.”
For “GHOST STEPS” and HUNTING TEARDROPS, the rule was simplicity.
“There’s a lot of texture and enjoyment people get out of these kinds of earthy sounds,” Bless says. “I know I appreciate them a lot more than I did when I was younger.”
The synergy between Bless and Souleye is apparent from the first opening beats of “GHOST STEPS” through the last notes of “DOORWAY TO THE FUTURE,” the final track on the new album. The result is a cosmic mixture of EDM, hip hop, and the lyrics of a master songwriter just reaching his prime.