Jedi Mind Tricks

Visions of Gandhi

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"Horror"-core rappers can generally be counted on to pair their ultra-violent raps with dark, claustrophobic productions. Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind, trackmaster for the duo Jedi Mind Tricks, has broader aims though, and he uses the group's third LP to move their sound from rote RZA or DJ Premier knockoffs into new territory. It's clear from a cursory listen to Visions of Gandhi that the group was far better off when they concentrated on that sound; the backings here -- framed by Spanish guitars, a Bobby McFerrin-type sample, and the strings of light classical pieces -- simply don't carry the right mood for the raps of Vinnie Paz (aka Ikon the Verbal Hologram). Paz alternates righteous Muslim rhetoric with "horror"-core raps that fit in so many references to so many pieces of anatomy (all of which he plans on eviscerating) that it sounds more like med school than a rap album. A few features make for better listening, including Ras Kass' guest on "Rise of the Machines," and Kool G Rap on "Animal Rap."

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