Solseekers :: Halfway There :: Syntax Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Hailing from various parts of California, the duo of Capture the Elusive on vocals and DJ DNA on boards and turntables form the union known as Solseekers. From DNA's biography on the internet, it's clear he's been involved in this hip-hop thing for more than a minute; starting off with homemade mixtapes and working his way up to sharing the stage with artists like KRS-One and L.A. Symphony. The rap half of the crew though is as Elusive as his name would imply - digging for information about him is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

In the end, that may be for the best. While Capture is in no way a "weak link" on this short eight track EP, the release comes across more as a showcase for DNA's talents than for that of Capture's vocals. With the exception of "Still Right Here" at the end of the CD, all of the songs are produced and arranged by DNA, who proves to be skilled at a wide range of rap styles. "Natural" starts with a crispy piano loop and wak-a-chuk guitar, moves into a jazzy arrangement of keys and drums during the vocals, and scratches it's way back into the original piano on the hook. "Substance Abuse" has the kind of pounding bass and organization you'd expect on an Xzibit song, "Come and Go" feels like an ominous Non-Phixion track complete with violin strings, and "Balance" could easily be mistaken for a Cut Chemist style audio collage.

Ironically, it's DNA's very versatility that prevent the Solseekers from perfecting an identity of their own. His abilities are so adept that he could be paired with any rapper from East to West, which ultimately means that Capture has to distinguish himself with a ginnsu sharp rap style. His writing is better than the average, his diction and breath control show plenty of practice on the mic, and the tone of his voice isn't offensive - that is unless you don't like an MC who is part Evidence and part Mr. Eon. "Substance Abuse" shows him to be an up-and-coming rapper with mad potential:

"Now I'm abusin the music and fusin together the words
Bruisin the pages when choosin the topic to serve
Refusin to amuse you with empty-headed verses
Infect minds with truth, instead of rhymes that's worthless
We pile on the hurt, sweat tears and blood
Hardhats and shovels to trudge through the mud
Just to get a chance to speak on it
We on some rappin Jesus Christ with a little elbow grease on it"

Ultimately though, Capture's potential is not realized here. Despite his better qualities Capture seems relatively unenthused when he's rapping. His vocal tone doesn't show enough range to hold your attention through his rhymes when DNA's scratches and beats turn out to be far more interesting. Capture comes across like an underground rapper looking for his niche and not yet having found it. In time he could be what El-P is to Def Jux or Sole is to Anticon. As it stands neither Syntax Records or The Inklings, the rap collective Solseekers belongs to, will be looking to him for leadership - which makes DNA's beautiful "Come and Go" track all the more perverse. The impression one is left with by "Halfway There" is that any rapper CAN come and go over DNA's tracks, and they'd still be tight. It's hard to say where Solseekers are going as a group, but DNA's future in hip-hop is definitely assured.

Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10

Originally posted: April 22, 2003