Soul Mafia Live on the Lower East Side


Brooklyn-based band Soul Mafia took the stage at Santos Party House on April 30, on the lower east side of Manhattan. Santos Party House is the perfect venue to see a band like Soul Mafia. It has a bar in the front and the back, a raised stage, two VIP sections, and an incredible in house PA/mixing board. It allows for a very intimate setting but doesn’t risk the band members being trampled by the crowd.

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While the warm up bands were playing their sets, I was able to grab Soul Mafia‘s front-man, GC, to give me a few details about the band. Two of the four members of Soul Mafia are originally from the midwest, where they met and formed the band. Upon moving to Brooklyn and becoming established, Soul Mafia graced the stage at  New York’s notorious Summer Jam.

GC plays guitar, saxophone, sings and raps. Prism plays keys. Iam sings and raps. Lil D is the percussion section of the group. GC and Prism (the keyboard player) do most of the writing.

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Each member brings a unique element that adds to the final product. The result cannot be classified into any single genre. Songs include heavy guitar riffs, melodic vocals, rap, jazz saxophone. It is definitely unique, and it works.

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The show at Santos Party House was to celebrate the release of the album “MK Ultra.” This is the second full length album released by the band. Soul Mafia has worked very hard to arrive where they are today. According to their bio:

Arriving in New York City in 2001, GC and keyboarist/producer Prism began to establish the Soul Mafia brand through trial by fire of open mics, battles, self promoted shows, and guerrilla marketing tactics. By developing Pursuance Inc., the production wing of Soul Mafia, through placement on FOX, ESPN, and MSG, GC and Prism were able to finance their grass roots efforts. The early years were characterized by a revolving door of supporting players, but after several line-up changes, GC and Prism found the missing elements of Soul Mafia in drummer Lil D and vocalist Iam Beck.

Soul Mafia certainly packed the house for their MK Ultra release show. They put on a high energy performance and interacted well with the crowd. I can’t help but mention one of the other musicians who performed with them: a Russian rapper/beatboxer who goes by the name of Krussia, who did a well-received set before Soul Mafia. Soul Mafia brought Krussia on stage for a few songs, including “Moving Keys” (which, by the way refers to musical keys, and is in no way a drug reference).

Aside from Krussia, Soul Mafia has also collaborated with Joe Budden on a remix of Soul Mafia song “All I Need” (explicit lyrics), below.

(All photos by: Jacob Breinholt)

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