Killah Priest

The Offering

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After a well-received debut, Heavy Mental, and the disappointing follow-up, View from Masada, Wu-Tang affiliate (a group with whom at this point he has pretty much broken all ties) Killah Priest fell below the radar, releasing a couple of impressive but poorly distributed albums and spending much of his time working with his groups Black Market Militia, Sunz of Man, the Maccabeez, and the HRSMEN. He most certainly wasn't off the map, but he wasn't at the forefront, either, and although The Offering probably won't catapult him to the top of the charts anywhere, it should help to re-establish him as one of the most talented MCs out there. For most of the record, Priest explores his by now typical Biblical themes, adding in allusions to historical leaders, from Hitler to Caesar to King Solomon, war imagery, social concerns, and a healthy dose of braggadocio, setting himself up as a Jesus-type figure, a messiah, here bringing truth and "real hip-hop" to the world. It's actually pretty impressive how he continues these motifs, from the ingenious rewriting of the Lord's Prayer in "Ghetto Jezus" ("Our father who art in jail I shall be thy gangsta/Thy kingdom of guns and thy will swing a razor/On the street corners as it is in prison," it begins, and just gets better as it goes along), twisting religion and violence until they become one, like his own moniker, to "Priesthood," where he declares himself king of New York, to the title track itself, where he implores the audience to listen to his rhymes and take something from them, each track full of impressive lines ("The bars you spit I use for chin-ups/Soon as you lay 'em down, I press the bench up," he spits in "How Many") and intelligent reflection. Toward the end of the album, Priest moves into commenting on life in the ghetto, and even though it happens a bit suddenly -- the production changes, as does the MC's flow, both moving a lot more towards an early 2Pac sound -- and the tracks break from the previous feel of the album, they're strong enough that they don't detract too much from his overall vision. The Offering is an impressive display of lyricism and intelligence, both from Killah Priest and his guests (who include Immortal Technique, Nas, and Ras Kass, among others), but based on the MC's track record, unfortunately it probably won't give him the attention he deserves.

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