Review Summary: Jus Allah prays on the minds of the young, silencing the devil that speaks with forked tongue. Taste my blade’s sharpness - ranked in no class like Marxist, the heartless.
You know those woefully ignorant white suburban kids who will do anything to go against the grain and dismiss an entire genre based solely on stereotypes and what music they’ve heard on the radio? I regret to announce that I was one of them. For the longest time I thought that my perspective of hip-hop wouldn’t wane, even if circumstances were to intervene and impede upon it. However, after hearing a plethora of enjoyable hip-hop albums via Sputnikmusic, my opinion swayed in favor of it. Since then, I’ve renounced my prejudice and opened my mind to the dark, less conventional side of hip-hop. Among these transcending albums that acted somewhat as a catalyst for my appreciation of the genre is Jedi Mind Trick’s Violent By Design, a quintessential hip-hop gem for those who are patient and reminiscent.
The scope of Violent By Design is massive. Many audio-excerpts are sampled, some of which are taken from films: “Intro”’s snippet from ‘Planet of the Apes’, or “Sacrifice”’s opening speech, taken directly from the well known kids movie ‘Antz’. Other samples include poetry from the likes of Wilfred Owen, as read by Richard Burton in “Muerte”, and so on and so forth. While all of these don’t accentuate to an overlying theme, they most certainly add aesthetic value and make the songs feel more at home and familiar (for those of us who can pick them out). That’s not even the best part though, it’s what the songs embody when played. It’s moments like the Eastern-esque feel of “Untitled” conveyed by way of prominence given to guitar; or the paranoid feeling one might get when trudging through a dark alley that “Speech Cobras” portrays with its eerie tone. Every song is unique and has a distinct sound which helps to differentiate them, as the production will make those perceiving the album superficially think the songs are analogous. Their gritty, raw production and genuine, sharp-edged vocals are enough alone to propel them into the upper echelons of hip-hop -- placing them among the genre’s most renowned artists, such as Wu-Tang Clan, RZA, etc. But their music is also driven by their ability to perceive dark atmospheres and make them flow with powerful - albeit somewhat front-loaded - lyrics, which some are likely to complain about due to their profanity and sexual misconduct.
In a sense, it’s a little unfortunate that the album is 24 songs long; it’s not even an issue with consistency, as every song is good in its own right - it’s just simply too much to handle at times and difficult to fully immerse yourself in the entire album, which may slightly encumber newcomer’s enjoyment. The interludes and skits are creative, sure, but they fall short of really grabbing your attention or warranting a replay as they bear no contextual relevance to the songs proceeding them. Those minute things aside, this is one of the greatest hip-hop albums I’ve been lucky enough to come across. Although overlong, the album surprisingly doesn’t taper off or become tired at any point. Since this, the group haven’t committed themselves to anything as passionate and raw, but then again, not many artists have. A stand-alone classic.
Army Of The Pharaohs
Blood Runs Cold
A great album, but mostly because of Stoupe. Having said that, the beats on this album are AMAZING. He kinda out RZAs RZA. What holds this album back though I fell is the rapping, particulary Vinnie Paz. Vinne Paz's lyrics have always screamed, "I'm FUCKING mad for no particular reason!!!!!!!" to me. Also, although his multies are nice, i find his flow basic and predictable. However, Jus Allah is great here though, and puts in his best performance ever (somewhere between this album and his JMT reunion he fell off HARD, I mean now he randomly rhymes unrelated words simply because they rhyme).