Review Summary: After years as a duo, Jedi Mind Tricks sound rather awkward as a trio.
The regain of an old member is usually a welcomed celebration. Cheers come from the fan and the band gains more popularity than ever. The band does better than ever with their new material, and by the time they dump the old member, it’s too late, they already have solidified their place as a quality band. This, unfortunately, is not the case. After years of just Vinnie Paz rapping and Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind producing and making the beats, the duo had fit together perfectly, creating incredibly dark, emotional, yet complex hip hop. However, with the return of Jus Allah, who made them essential listening early on in their career (on their best album Violent By Design
), Jedi Mind Tricks tries to fit Jus Allah back into the group, and on A History of Violence
, he sounds just awkwardly pushed in.
That’s really the only problem with A History of Violence
, but it strikes on just about every song, making just about everything a bit hard to listen to. Jus Allah has declined as an MC, and while he does have the occasional hip hop quotable, he mostly resorts to the angriest and most disjointed flow this side of Immortal Technique and using rather profane language, even by Jedi Mind Tricks standards. Vinnie Paz, whom used to put at least some heart into his music, also seems to follow this pattern, while contributing to a few songs with some sort of effort (“Trail of Lies”, “Death Messiah”), he for the most part also downgrades his rapping to angry ranting and gun talk, just to make Jus Allah feel welcomed back. “Deathbed Doctrine” is the worst case of this, and for the most part, the two rappers just sound like they are shouting and acting all pi
ssed off, with no regard toward a decent concept or idea.
But everything else is just excellent. Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind is an excellent producer and beat maker, making some of the darkest beats that Jedi Mind Tricks have ever had. This album continues the bleak, depressing atmosphere that consumed Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell
. The biggest example of this is on the song “Monolith”, where Stoupe manages to use congas to create a tropical atmosphere, while the withering female vocal sample makes things gloomy, making for an excellent blend of atmospheres. The album also flows very well from beginning to end, and unlike some of what actually goes on in some songs between Vinnie and Jus, isn’t awkward in the least. The deadly gang bangers “Deathbed Doctrine” and “Deadly Melody” flow right into the melancholic “Monolith”, and the rather violent “Butcher Knife Bloodbath” flows into the mechanically withering instrumental “The Sixth Gate Shines No More”.
All this however, doesn’t really save A History of Violence
. There are a few political and emotional songs, and ultimately this is where Jedi Mind Tricks works best, but most of the rest of the album just sounds awkward due to the return of Jus Allah. A History of Violence
is only for true fans, as most will feel confused, as they’ve spent so long just hearing Vinnie Paz rapping alone. Maybe after this release, Jedi Mind Tricks will realize that Jus Allah is just way past his prime, and they will get rid of him. For quality sake, I hope they really do.
2.6 out of 5