Jedi Mind Tricks – “Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell” review

After a decade of releasing material & with their 5th full-length album over here, Philadelphia hip hop trio Jedi Mind Tricks truly sound as if they’re fully formed. Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind’s production is bone-chilling as ever, Vinnie Paz’s rhymes are at his strongest, DJ Kwestion’s scratch hooks never fail to amuse me & we’re still getting metal references in the song titles & some of the lyrics on here as well. And while we’re still getting that usual angry hardcore material JMT usually gives us like on the opening song Put ‘Em in the Grave or the hellish Ill Bill featured Heavy Metal Kings (who would later form a duo with Vinnie named after this track), Vinnie’s actually putting a lot more conscious rhymes in the mix & he has a sincere tone about it in his delivery. The track Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story paints vivid images of Vinnie & R.A. the Rugged Man as soldiers in Vietnam over an eerie vocal sample. R.A.’s verse is notable of being possibly THE best verse on the whole album because he rhymes in the perspective of his father John A. Thorburn (who ACTUALLY served in the Vietnam War) but there are some other great moments on here. Like on the track Shadow Business, Vinnie takes us into the mind of Chinese worker over some Phantom of the Opera shit. The track Razorblade Salvation is a follow-up to the closing track off JMT’s previous album Legacy in Blood, which is pretty much a message to Vinnie’s mother about Vinnie wanting to commit suicide. However, on this follow-up he’s sending another letter to his mother saying that he doesn’t want to commit suicide anymore & he does it in a tearjerking way. Like he actually sounds sincere about it rather than sounding way too melodramatic. The album closes out with Black Winter Day, where Vinnie talks about making better decisions in the future for his loved ones. I truly think the group made their best work since their 2nd album Violent by Design as well as their best work period on here. This is perfectly crafted underground hip hop from front to back

Score: 5/5

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