This feature on the Soulection label and collective from L.A is based on an interview I did with founder Joe Kay for the book. The reason for including Joe in the book is that he is a prime example of the generation that grew up with the new hip hop aesthetic, and therefore embodies the next generation the one that will carry on the torch that was lit in the 90s and the sounds that were refined and pioneered in the 00s.
Soulection has been going for about two years and is showing signs of being a worthy follower in the tradition of L.A’s creative powerhouses such as Stones Throw and Mochilla. For his part Kay is an interesting character, with a history and approach to hip hop and beats that dovetails nicely with my own theories while also diverting from them, and showing how the next generation differs from its precedessors in terms of how they view the sound, its history and its potentials.
In the late ’00s, Los Angeles emerged as one of a few key nodes in a beat-led revolution as elements of the city’s underground came together, on and offline. Five years on, the dust has settled and the once edgy and experimental sounds surrounding this revolution are now the norm while those involved are now worldwide, household names.
But just as revolutions require figureheads, they also engender after-effects. In the past few years the city has seen a rise in new blood, young people forming collectives and labels, DJing and making music. They are in many ways the direct descendants of those that came before them – not just figures at the centre of the late ’00s upheaval, such as Low End Theory and Flying Lotus, but also local veteran labels and creative houses such as Stones Throw and Mochilla.
Soulection is one of those children of the beat. The LA-based label, artist collective and radio show was founded in January 2011 by Joe Kay, visual artist Guillaume Bonte and motion designer Andre Power. Now in his early 20s, Kay’s love affair with the beat started at the age of 16. This was thanks to a family friend who worked for Universal doing radio promotion. “He would take me to the stations,” remembers Kay, “and just being surrounded by it all unconsciously sparked something in me…. I got into instrumental music after discovering Stones Throw. I was blown away. Madlib, DOOM and even Dilla, though I wouldn’t realize who he was and how much of his music I’d heard until he’d passed…. Around that same time I discovered Beat Dimensions. Then I found Onra, FLYamSAM, all this weird, spacy stuff.”