Vinnie Paz

God of the Serengeti

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Gruff and grandiose like a true boss should be, rapper and Jedi Mind Tricks member Vinnie Paz is a pro at making conspiracy theories and party time sound equally important. Both topics are covered by his rapid-fire rhymes on God of the Serengeti, an album that, like his 2010 solo effort Season of the Assassin, is sure to please fans while challenging newcomers with its over-stuffed track list and ying ("I'm indestructible, my acts are those of a Mason") with yang ("I don't want to hit the bitch, but the dame trippin'/I call the shots and remove the rock like Lane Kiffin") attitude. That said, the album is as reckless and rowdy as the Paz himself, with those extra injections of smart, snide, and clever that make confrontational grinders like "Razor Gloves" ("I'm an assassin and my passion is bursting your mind") so attractive. Think of a Twista who is well-versed in Italian-American culture and spitting the anti-New World Order rhymes, or jump to "Geometry of Business" and check how the hook-filled, uplifting anthem gives way to a soulful gut-punch called "Jake LaMotta." An A-list set of producers (DJ Premier, Mr. Green, DJ Lethal, and many more lords of the underground) and a triple goon squad's worth of hardcore guests (Mobb Deep, Scarface, Immortal Technique, and many more) means the listener must hold on tight, but this bullet train never leaves the tracks. Plenty of hot air pushes it forward, while cold steel keeps it on the ground, just like the kinetic, magnetic Paz.

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