Vengeance Is Mine

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While many rappers make their living by making up stories about crime, X-Raided doesn't have to. Currently serving a 30-plus year prison sentence in California, he has plenty of his own stories to tell, and most of them aren't pretty. Vengeance Is Mine was recorded with an illegally-acquired DAT recorder, and despite its lack of studio polish, it is a fascinating and challenging chronicle of prison life in America. "Write What I See" describes the drudgery life behind bars with painstaking detail. On "Hold On," X-Raided shows some perspective, looking back on the twisted road that led him to a jail cell. Although an artistic success, Vengeance Is Mine was created with more than a little controversy. The rapper is being sued by his victim's family under the "Son of Sam" law, and tougher prison regulations mean that this could be his last album. Wherever you stand on the legal issues surrounding his work, the fact remains that X-Raided's music is a creative success. Vengeance Is Mine is a brutally honest look at the consequences of a man's actions, as well as a stark depiction of a reality that most of us would rather ignore.

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