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Album Review

One of the most slept-on MCs in hip-hop, Killah Priest has dealt with more than his fair share of industry problems. Though he denies rumors of a beef with his mentors in Wu-Tang Clan, the rapper was noticeably absent from their disappointing The W. And despite solid sales and critical acclaim for his previous solo albums, Killah Priest was dropped from his major-label deal with MCA. But as one of hip-hop's finest lyricists, Killah was not about to be held down, and the self-released Priesthood is a razor-sharp statement of purpose that finds the underground MC in peak form. Songs like "Madness" match a profound, sociopolitically charged consciousness with an uncanny eye for urban detail, with Nicrocist's atmospheric production supporting Priest's dense rhymes. The irresistibly catchy "My Hood" is even more potent, with spiritually charged lyrics bemoaning the state of the streets backed by a funky, guitar-laden riff and singalong chorus. But the all-star appeal of "Horsemen Talk" makes it the album's most remarkable cut. A preface to the 4 Horsemen's eagerly anticipated debut, the song features Priest, Canibus, Kurupt, and Ras Kass — arguably the most underrated MCs in rap — trading vicious rhymes that will make weak MCs sit up and take notice. This underground manifesto may not break any sales records, but without major-label money or the big-name producers it usually affords, Killah Priest has released one of the year's most powerful hip-hop albums.


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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Priesthood, Killah Priest
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