Superlatives adhere to Myka 9, yet he is absurdly under-known for an artist of his stature, and it's this paradox that too often governs discussion of his two and a half decades in rap. A body of work, by the way, bookended by ghostwriting two songs on N.W.A. and the Posse's 1987 LP and now by this piece, Sovereign Soul. Perhaps it's simply that Myka is more or less alone in the world of rap. His tonal palette is broader and brighter and his voice more liquid than other rappers. Myka's legend began in Freestyle Fellowship, whose independent debut in 1991 is comparable only to De La Soul's The Daisy Age in opening up possibilities for determined experimentation in hip-hop. As Pitchfork observed, "to say that Freestyle Fellowship significantly influenced west coast hip-hop is like saying that Jesus was a pivotal figure in Christianity." The title of Sovereign Soul is an affirmation of Myka's whole aesthetic: searching, spiritual, and fiercely independent of the burdens and strictures of pop expectation. As with Myka's 2009 collaboration, 1969, the music here flows from the head and hands of Factor, a producer from the prairies of Saskatoon in Western Canada, about half a continent from South Los Angeles.