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Music Reviews

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Fat Possum
Jedi Mind Tricks
Legacy of Blood
Babygrande Records

Rating: 2/10 ?

January 23, 2005
(Rating = 8, production; 2, lyrics)

What a waste. That's the only thing I can say when I hear Legacy of Blood, the latest record by highly-touted underground hip-hop group, Jedi Mind Tricks. What a waste.

Why? Because Stoupe has come up with some of the best hip-hop production you're likely to hear this year, and yet we're left listening to a ridiculously homophobic and unimaginative MC named Vinnie Paz who raps in a semi-gravely monotone that barely holds your interest. A waste.

The first track, "The Age of Sacred Terror," pretty much sums up what Legacy of Blood is all about. Over a gorgeous beat that harkens back to some of the RZAs best work in the nineties, within the first thirty seconds of the song, we get this gem: "You like to sleep with guys/You a gay maggot/Listenin' to fuckin' B2K faggot." Believe it or not, it's actually MORE embarrassing to have to listen to this garbage than it is to transcribe it.

I'm not here saying that all music should be PC and sanitized. I'm all for hard core music done well. I love hearing MCs talking shit to people - that's a big part of what hip-hop is all about. But I'll be honest - I'm a middle class white guy. So, people rapping about hard core living aren't speaking to me or where I came from - which is fine, they don't have to for me to really enjoy the music. For example, Mobb Deep's The Infamous or Smif n' Wessun's Da Shinin' are two of my favorite albums of all time; it just takes great beats and an intelligent and creative way of saying what you're saying and you've got me.

But what in the world is compelling about calling someone a "faggot," something Vinnie Paz does over and over and over again? A sixth-grader at recess can do that. Yawn. And tell me, why would I want to pay to hear someone plainly say that they're going to kill me or stab me or how they're harder than I am, without an artful turn of phrase anywhere to be found?

I could possibly just chalk this up to "this is not for me," except for the fact that the beats here are too good for the crap Vinnie Paz spits. So I am left to lament about what this record could have been. And this record could have been incredible, which I am painfully and frustratingly reminded of during stellar guest appearances by the Gza, Killah Priest, and Sean Price from The Boot Camp Clik. These parts of the record shine a bright light on all that Vinnie Paz lacks. Talented MCs can do wonders with beats this nice. If only Jedi Mind Tricks had one.

Bottom line: if there's even an instrumental version of Legacy of Blood I would recommend seeking it out. Otherwise, unless pedestrian hard core rhymes and explicit homophobia is your cup of tea, don't bother. It'd be a waste.

Reviewed by Dan Filowitz
Dan Filowitz is Toronto-born, New-Jersey-raised, Indiana-University-educated, and Chicago-residing. In addition to his Lost At Sea contributions, Dan is a senior staff writer for political humor site TalkStation.com and the president of ChicagoImprovAnarchy (The CIA) a Chicago-based improv theatre company. We are not mentioning the 9-5 corporate job. Apparently, Dan does not sleep much. Dan Filowitz is the perfect dinner party guest - fun, witty, intelligent, with wide-ranging interests, ecclectic tastes and a winning smile. Just make sure you have coffee available.

See other reviews by Dan Filowitz



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