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Album Review

Beautiful Minds may display Killah Priest and Chief Kamachi's names at the same font size, but it's the Wu-Tang affiliate and Sunz of Man leader Killah who's running the show with Army of the Pharaohs member Kamachi acting as sidekick. In that respect, Minds is a dirtier and, true to its title, more lyric-driven alternative to Killah's other 2008 release, Behind the Stained Glass. This is apparent right from the get-go, as the opening title track boasts "It's the illest team/You ever seen/Since Jay and Beans/We are the Nazarenes" over Emonex's grinding production. True to its lyricist lounge spirit, the accessible numbers don't come round till track five when guest rapper Planet Asia nails his guest shot on "Illest" as producer C Sik and beat-maker DJ Rhettmatic collaborate on the dramatic, giant robot music. Producer Tekneek's strings and watery piano on the following weed anthem, "Most High," recall Wu man RZA's work, but Dev Rocka's indie beat sounds on the following "Time Out Revisited" sounds like he's auditioning for Nicolay's gig in the Foreign Exchange. Killah and Kamachi have no trouble navigating all these diverse productions by alternating between freestyle-filled rhyming sessions and purposeful, direct numbers like the "still standing" anthem "All Been Buried" or the spiritually minded closer, "Scrolls." On the latter, Killah offers "It's so dark now/Don't think the righteous will shine/But I think like all 12 disciples combined" while Kamachi speaks of Solomon and "I had a role model like him/It was Kane and Rakim." Killah fans will have no trouble embracing this, while Kamachi proves himself officially "slept-on."


Born: 16 August 1970 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Killah Priest made his first appearances on such Wu-Tang side and solo projects as Gravediggaz' 6 Feet Deep, Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return to the 36 Chambers, and Genius/GZA's seminal Liquid Swords. His contributions to those releases -- especially Liquid Swords' "B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)," essentially a Priest solo track -- paved the way for the release of the MC's acclaimed debut album, 1998's Heavy Mental, and a lengthy and respected career in the hip-hop underground....
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Beautiful Minds, Killah Priest
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