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Scene Stealers: Soul Odyssey

Seeing how it was inspired by a movie about a hyperaddictive new designer drug, it's hardly surprising the Formula 512 mix tape is loaded with chemistry. After a late-night viewing of 2002 Samuel L. Jackson thriller Formula 51, local MC Mirage da Griot had a brainstorm and called his partner in rhyme Arson Optics, who quickly agreed the idea was dope. The duo assembled a host of ATX hip-hop talent -- Bavu Blakes, Tee Double, Dok Holliday, Tray God, Element, Global, Buzzy, and Kaizen -- for an epic recording session at ATX Records and enlisted DJ Phyfteen to thread the whole thing together. "Everybody came through with they dopest shit," affirms Mirage. "Everybody ripped." A Prairie View A&M graduate who remembers seeing Run-DMC and Eazy-E at the old KAZI studios off Loyola, Austin-born Mirage, now 28, first met Arson Optics in 2001, when the then 16-year-old "Boy Wonder" brought him in for a track on his solo album Based on a True Story. "The first song we did together was crazy," confirms Arson, a Pittsburgh native who studied drums for a year at Boston's Berklee College of Music and is already one of Austin's most in-demand beat-crafters. As Soul Odyssey, the pair have lately been readying their debut, The Offering, dropping in late February or early March. Mirage hopes the album will capture the wide-open spirit of hip-hop circa 1987 and '88, when De La Soul carried as much commercial clout as N.W.A. "A lot of it is really soulful and melodic," he says. "But there's some bangers on there, too."

Mirage & Arson Optics join the Freaks the Funk bedlam Sunday at Miguel's. See "Music Listings."

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Christopher Gray, June 29, 2007

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Christopher Gray, June 22, 2007

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