Artist: Jedi Mind TricksTitle: Visions of GhandiRating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: DAllen
For listeners who have been aimlessly searching for the rawness of early 90’s hip-hop, you can stop and give thanks to two saviors from Philadelphia, Jedi Mind Tricks. From their groundbreaking single, “Common Thread” to the unparalleled album Violent by Design, producer Stoupe The Enemy of Mankind and emcee Vinnie Paz have been bestowing greatness to the masses. Behold their new album Visions of Gandhi, a genuine masterpiece. With Latin and classical influenced beats, Jedi Mind Tricks stays true to their roots and never stray from their prime objective: pure hip-hop.
The classical strings that run wild on “Animal Rap” provide Kool G Rap with a flawless beat to lace with his legendary rhyme skills. He says, “I’m a legend breathin’ the reason you thug” reminding listeners of who he is and how he is part of the ‘thug’ mentality in hip-hop. Vinnie Paz also lets the listeners know (new listeners) his status, “I’m from a time when every song was righteous/before rap was just a swarm of white kids.” The Latin-based “Nada Cambia” displays the direction in which Jedi Mind is going. They stay heavy with the classical and hard bass bumping beats, but Stoupe takes it to his Puerto Rican heritage with a slick, Spanish guitar beat set with a hook of a woman and a man speaking Spanish. Canibus lends his sharp-tongued lyrics to “Tibetan Black Magicians.” Set to an ominous beat that sounds like a villain’s anthem, Canibus and Vinnie Paz make this track work with their commentary on rappers, “Eatin’ MC’s is like eatin’ garbage/they make me vomit,” and “I love readin’ the palms of b#### rappers.” The track is full of black magic references, which coincides with the Muslim references and allusions to Christ throughout the album. Rass Kass appears on the disturbing “Rise of the Machines” and Non-Phixion adds some verses on “The Wolf.”
The track that gives the album a personal feel is “Rage of Angels” featuring Crypt. Vinnie Paz and Crypt share their sorrow for Vinnie’s friend and Crypt’s father being locked up. Set to a repetitive, dismal beat, the two mc’s give details of the hardships prison and how it affects their lives on the outside. Throughout the album, there are anti-Bush and anti-war references that also display a more personal angle from Jedi Mind.
With the steady formula of eerie beats and raw lyrics, Visions of Gandhi will more than satisfy a Jedi Mind follower and leave newcomers drooling for more. Stoupe and Vinnie Paz have confidently created an immaculate album that is well worth the purchase. Listeners will be missing something if every track isn’t heard, believe that.