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Heavy Mental

Killah Priest

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Album Review

As one of the late-arriving members of the Wu-Tang Clan, perhaps it isn't surprising that Killah Priest doesn't follow the RZA blueprint as strictly as his peers. His debut record, Heavy Mental, uses the signature Wu sound as a foundation, stretching out RZA's impressionistic soundscapes with weird samples and drum loops. Nevertheless, Killah Priest isn't strictly about sound — he's about the entire picture, and his lyrics are decidedly stranger and more ambitious than the average late-'90s rapper. Heavy Mental is filled with weird religious imagery, unpredictable symbolism, and strange allegories, all of which are married to production that is the aural equivalent of his verbal surrealism. As a result, Heavy Mental is a welcome surprise — the rare, late-'90s record that not only has ambitions, but also fulfills them.

Biography

Born: August 16, 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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Heavy Mental, Killah Priest
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