Jedi Mind Tricks - Visions of Gandhi
Jedi Minds Tricks are an underground rap duo from Philadelphia, PA, and they are angry. Maybe they aren't actually angry people, but if we as listeners are to take cues from their lyrics, they ain't nuthin' to fuc
k with. However, their form of violence and aggression doesn't come from ultra-sparse beats or "gangsta" lyrics, but from an odd mix of sampling dramatic movie speeches, sampling famous symphonies, and spitting allusion-saturated pseudo-intellectual lyrics with the utmost hatred and disgust with the humanity, other rappers, generally, the world around them. This highly dystopian lyrical stance employs violence, anti-homosexuality, and really anything negative to get their point across as aggressively as possible.
However, Visions of Gandhi
, though in a lot of ways their most a forward and animalistic album lyrically, is a much more diverse and withdrawn album musically. The typical Jedi Mind Tricks uses a lot of overly dramatic devices such as sampled classical music (e.g. Mendelssohn) or monologues from violent movies (e.g. Boondock Saints). They also tend to have smooth guitar for the lighter moments on the CD to contrast that against the darker more symphonic moments. Here, while we still get plenty of strings and horns, and plenty of guitar too, there's a wider diversity of sampled style here. In many ways it's nice to hear the weird a cappella of "Blood In Blood Out", the Mortal Kombat-esque ninja beat of "The Wolf," or the equally odd latin feel of "Nada Cambria," but does that really complement lyrics like:
Originally Posted by Nada Cambria
You ain't a thug money, you all maggot
You like to chill and hold hands with faggots
You conduct yourself like a savage
You like the smell of males on your mattress
Cause that's established, I fuckin hate you
Who fucking raised you? You a fucking disgrace!
And if you come around my way, you get bucked in the face
Get snuffed in the face, then I wack you
With razors, knives, guns, and what have you.
In some cases it does. Jedi Mind, despite their ultraviolence has really fun lyrics. It's terrible to say but they flow well and are delivered immaculately so to hear them against a variety backgrounds can be appealing in some ways. The best songs I feel are the straight up darkest (because when the dark lyrics and background sync up it's incredibly powerful), or the straight up chillest (because it's sweet to hear something so aggressive against a plain or reserved background). However, having a goofy background can spoil the affair, so on those songs Jedi Mind's strategy is less effective.
And, with all this talk about the saturation of the lyrics with violence and discrimination, one would think that that could use a little bit of variety or diversity, but somehow, it feels right the way it is. Because the commentary is so over the top, the lyrics work better in rations that are completely over the top. Hearing certain words like "fagg
ot" repeated throughout multiple songs fits with the tone of the album as a whole. Also, one strong point of Jedi Mind's saturation approach is that they also self-reference a lot. It's as if they have their own particular mythology of philosophers, movies, historical warriors, and MCs that define them as a band. They will allude to Kublai Khan or the Ayatollah, or, use certain phrases like "steadily shine" (which was derived in their song "Heavely Divine" from Violent by Design
) all over the CD so the Jedi Mind tone and lyrical content, really, their world, feels like a snowglobe. No matter where you go you'll come back to where you started. It's the cyclical nature of their little self-referential universe that makes
the lyrical and vocal side of this band. This album is particularly forward and crude in the lyrics though still has some genius moments. Another element of Jedi Mind that I love is that even if you cringe when you hear their lyrics, they're always incredibly memorable and stick instantly, which is in part because of the content, but also because of the solid delivery and flow.
Ultimately, this album will turn off the easily offended, but is still a great rap album. It's not as rich or as amazing as Violent by Design
, but it's a good introduction to the band because of the song variety and more simple and direct lyrical approach. As something to leave you with here is an except from VIsions of Gandhi
Originally Posted by Rise of the Machines
They call me Kublai Khan, ready for war with a Ruger 9
I'm ready with a machete for Rudy Guiliani
I'm ready for anybody who wants war
Recommended Tracks: Tibetan Black Magicians, The Rage of Angels, Animal Rap, Rise of the Machines