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Violent By Design

Jedi Mind Tricks

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Album Review

Like all excellent underground hip-hop acts, Philadelphia's Jedi Mind Tricks want to sound like Kool Keith but actually make some sense. That they've now moved on from their debut album's UFO-a-philia into more sociopolitical ramblings shouldn't distract you: Violent By Design again shows a group that still knows their nobly skewed stuff. Even when they add a third solid member, JusAllah (aka Megatraum), and about 400 guest spots. There are tales of pipe-wielding violence and obligatory Star Wars references, amusing uses of Hulk Hogan and Pi samples, but Stoupe's newly jagged and ominous turntablist hooks give you a new barren, kung-fu film landscape for those imaginative nights when you're truly feeling sinister. The Virtuoso, Esoteric, and Bahamadia collaboration "Exertions" superbly captures a sloping account of reparation, placentas, and Zodiac killers, while "The Prophecy" interlude sounds like a hip-hop cousin to the dark jazz played in the club scene of David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Hardcore vulgarity and pointed, Wu-Tang hooks notwithstanding, Jedi Mind Tricks are well-versed in contradictions. They know how to intimidate without gangsta pretensions and they know how to create menace without losing sight of humor or clarity.

Biography

Formed: Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

The underground hip-hop duo Jedi Mind Tricks started out in the streets of Philadelphia in early 1996. Friends since high school, producer Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind and MCs Vinnie Paz (aka Ikon the Verbal Hologram) released the Amber Probe EP in 1996 and, one year later, gained a cult following with the full-length Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro Magnetic Manipulation (which was reissued in 2003 courtesy of the Babygrande label). Released in 2000, the sophomore effort Violent...
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Violent By Design, Jedi Mind Tricks
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