Vinnie Paz – “The Pain Collector” review

Vinnie Paz is a underground titan MC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania known for being the MC of Jedi Mind Tricks & the leader of the Army of the Pharaohs collective. He put out his first 2 solo albums Season of the Assassin & God of the Serengeti in 2010 & 2012 respectively, but returned in 2016 with the disappointingly average The Cornerstone of the Corner Store. And now just 3 months after the release of the latest JMT album The Bridge & The Abyss, Boxcutter Pazzy isn’t stopping with his 4th full-length album.

The album begins with “Winter Soldier”, where Paz gets confrontational over some strings. The next song “Necklace of Hands” gets bloodthirsty over a gritty yet soulful instrumental from Oh No while the track “Gasmask” is a mix of street & conscious bars over an eerie beat. The song “Sundae Bloody Sundae” intellectually compares himself to an ice cream man as a metaphor for a drug dealer over an alluring soul sample while the track “Jail Cell Recipes” continues this theme albeit in a much menacing & straight forward tone to it. The song “Tongan Death Grip” with Reef the Lost Cauze sees the 2 spitting battle bars over some sinister horns while the track “God’s Shadow” reflects on his early days over a woodwind-inflicted boom bap beat with a cool Biggie sample on the hook.

The song “DualTow Night Eagle” sees Pazzy getting back in your face over a haunting beat while the track “Blood on My Hands” gets back on the murder tip over a somber boom bap beat. The song “Floating Goat” sounds like it was recorded for the latest Soul Assassins album Dia del Asesinato, but it works very well on here. The track “Byzantine Jewelry” brags about how hardcore he is over a laidback beat with a beautiful soul sample on the hook while I do find the beat switch on the song “Requiem for Black Benjy in 2 Parts” as well as the verses from both Vinnie & Crimeapple, I found Tha God Fahim‘s verse to be pretty bland. The track “Pray for Sleep” goes into the mind of a insane murderer over a gloomy vocal sample while the song “HaShem on a Pentagram” with Non Phixion members Ill Bill & Goretex sees the 3 talking about criminal activity over an apocalyptic boom bap beat.

The track “Masked Stickups” talking about how he can have people disappear if he wants to over a piano & a funky bass-line while the song “Hollow Light Severed Sun” has a somber beat & I absolutely love how Paz experiments with his flow on here. The track “Cold in Philadelphia” tells the story of an immigrant coming to america over an acoustic instrumental while the penultimate track “Gracious” talks about all the things he’s grateful for over a vocal sample & some piano chords. The album then closes with “A Power Governments Cannot Suppress”, where Paz gets political & I absolutely love how the instrumental gets progressive throughout it’s 6 minute runtime.

Honestly, this is on par with Paz’s first 2 albums & I’ll even say it’s better than the latest Jedi Mind Tricks album. There are a couple weak spots & I feel like it 4 or 5 tracks could’ve been left out of the picture, but it’s just as rawly produced & angrily delivered than ever before.

Score: 4/5

Jedi Mind Tricks – “The Bridge & The Abyss” review

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After triumphantly returning to form in 2015 with The Thief & The Fallen, Philadelphia underground legends Jedi Mind Tricks are now coming out of the blue with their 9th full-length album.

After a 96 second intro, we go into the first song “San La Muerte”. Here, MC Vinnie Paz talks about how he isn’t fucking with anyone over a sinister Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind instrumental. The track “Rashindun Caliphate” sees Vinnie talking to his haters over an instrumental with an eerie atmosphere to it while the song “Freshco & Miz” talks about their longevity over a boom bap beat with some jazzy horns. The track “When the Body Goes Cold” gets confrontational over a gloomy boom bap beat while the song “What She Left Behind” vividly describes an abusive relationship over an alluring soul sample & the drums are going off like Desert Eagles. Honestly, I think it’s the most disturbing JMT song I’ve ever listened to

The track “Death Toll Rising” talks about ghetto life over a boom bap beat with a pretty Latin vocal sample & after the “Shed the Skin to Receive the World” interlude, we go into the song “Certified Dope”. Here, Pazzy spits that gun-talk over an instrumental that doesn’t really suit the vibe to me. The track “Hell’s Henchman” talks about snakes over an instrumental with some intense strings while the song “God Forsaken” is filled with murder bars over an instrumental that perfectly fits into a final battle.  The track “Legacy of the Prophet” with Sean Price talks about their place in hip hop & while it is hard, I feel like we’ve heard Sean on so many JMT tracks at this point.

After the “Void Ritual” interlude, we go into the song “You Have 1 Devil but 5 Angels”. Here, Paz spits some battle bars over some bass & keyboards while DJ Kwestion’s scratch hook suits the vibe fantastically. The track “Marciano’s Reign” intellectually talks about overcoming the negatives over an orchestral instrumental while the song “Torture Chamber” with CZARFACE goes back to the battle bar tip over a rap rock beat. The track “The Letter Concerning the Intellect” pretty much speaks for itself over a gloomy guitar & a soul sample on the hook while the final song “Making a Killing” talks about the meat industry a beautiful piano instrumental before the album finishes with a 1-minute instrumental.

While I prefer their last album a lot more, this is still great. Vinnie Paz’s lyricism has gotten sharper with age & Stoupe’s production compliments him just as much, but there were too many interludes for me

Score: 3.5/5