Jedi Mind Tricks

Legacy of Blood

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With violent imagery so rampant in the past decade of hip-hop, the fact that Jedi Mind Tricks' third album manages a cover shot that actually succeeds in shocking is either impressive or disturbing, depending on your disposition. Same goes for Vinnie Paz's tougher-than-leather flow that hollers down "faggots" and paints pictures of ultra-violence in a way that would make A Clockwork Orange seem almost friendly by comparison. This is hard music for hard times, and it makes no concessions to the blinged-out mainstream on JMT's left flank, nor the conscious emo-rap on the right. But walking the middle ground, he declares "I don't want to die anymore/I don't want to cry anymore/Don't want to lie anymore...I just want y'all to be dead" on "The Worst," and it's hard to sympathize. Producer Stoupe's minor-key beat suites chime melodically, yet feature tempos just quick enough to keep up with Paz's manic energy. In fact, keeping up with Paz gets exhausting at points, but guest MCs Des Devious, Sean Price, and Killah Priest keep up nicely with the absolutely stunning rhymes by GZA on both versions of "On the Eve of War," and actually have a calming effect (despite the album's hokiest beat on the main version of the cut). Though probably too aggressive for anyone old enough to clearly remember JMT's classic 2000 album, Violent By Design, Legacy of Blood is not without its moments. But after five years, Paz should have found at least one more subject to rhyme about.

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