16 January, 2009@5:04 am
Since Jedi Mind Tricks came on the scene in the late 90’s, they’ve put out darker music then just about anyone on the east coast, without actually getting into horror rap territory. They seem to lie on the fringes, too violent and brooding for most, yet still solid enough to capture the ears of any East Coast hip-hop fan. Their production is what has constantly kept them in the game. Stoupe manages to evoke the darkest of the dark, but still keep the beat going hard enough that you can nod your head. Vinnie Paz is hit or miss, with a voice that sounds like war, it makes sense that war be one of his favorite subjects.
Jedi Mind Tricks have a solid niche, with a unique voice and impeccable production that may have been what allowed them to fall into predictable territory by the time Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell came around. On A History of Violence however, Stoupe moves away from some of his more classical based production and seems to let a little light in on the group. You wouldn’t call this upbeat, and they still remain polar opposites of Jurassic 5, but tracks like “Deathbed Doctrine”, “Trail of Lies” and “Godflesh” all sound like Stoupe’s letting a little sunlight into his sound.
That being said, with song titles like those, in addition to “Heavy Artillery”, “Deadly Melody”, and “Death Messiah”, you can be sure Vinnie Paz still is as angry as ever and Jus Allah is right there with him. However Paz seems to be channeling it better. Instead of letting loose blind rage as he was prone to do in past albums, he seems to focus it better on particulary subjects. He focuses “Trail of Lies” on his anger of the popular media and unleashes an especially apt verse “turn the television off cousin, it’s a tool for them to clog the mind, conservitism, liberalism, they divide the line.”
While Paz is on his game, Jus Allah doesn’t seem quite up to the task. Allah isn’t on all the songs, and even when he is, like on “Deathbed Doctrine”, he still only gets 16 bars to Paz’s 32. What is most disappointing, is Paz holds his own, but in a smaller roll, Allah can’t back up his own fire. That said, the unique production by Stoupe utilizing a little harmonica and some other pieces in addition to his hard hitting drums makes it a solid innovation. Jus Allah does put in a decent verse on “Monolith”, and with Stoupe’s utilization of an east Asian Sample it feels a lot like the mysticism of early Jedi Mind Tricks.
Jedi Mind Tricks have unleashed their fury once again and previous fans won’t be disappointed. They also seem to have opened themselves up some so that those who weren’t initially pulled in by darkness incarnate might be able to get with Stoupe’s production and Paz newfound energy. That being said the guest spots on the album were disappointing and Jus Allah isn’t in the game like he needs to be. But now that he’s back on the regular things only looking up for Jedi Mind Tricks, hopefully Vinnie Paz allows himself to enjoy it. – Dane Johnson
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