One listen to The Devil Made Me Do It makes one wonder if Paris recorded the album in a cloistered, cold bunker -- or at least the kind of abandoned warehouse he and his crew marched through during his videos. As with early Public Enemy (a primary inspiration) and the two X-Clan records, the best moments of Paris' debut work on two levels. Plenty of these tracks have dark, sleek grooves beneath them, built on expert beat programming and vicious claws instead of hooks. In addition to this, there's Paris' scholarly, tightly wound rhymes, which are crammed with pro-black themes -- odds are Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice and Bobby Seale's Seize the Time were committed to memory long before they were written. In a sea of early-'90s Afrocentric rappers, Paris was one of the most unique and most talented in his field, his angered voice cutting and tense enough to make any listener squirm in her or his seat. As often as these tracks are peppered with samples of Chuck D, Black Panthers, and Malcolm X, Paris is never outshone. Poignant tracks like "Break the Grip of Shame," "The Hate That Hate Made," "The Devil Made Me Do It," and "Wretched" ("Mindless music for the masses makes ya think less of the one that hates ya") make for a joyless listen, but it's just as riveting as the most provocative and hedonistic gangsta record.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman