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Jedi Mind Tricks - The Legacy Continues
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If you like your hip-hop full of attitude there’s a good chance you’re a Jedi Mind Tricks fan. The edge Vinnie Paz and Jus Allah have in their rhymes, and Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind has in his beats, is a little too much for mainstream radio, though, which is why Jus Allah says “we have the type of music where you have to really seek us out. The average hip-hop fan, or the casual listener of music, isn’t gonna be like ‘yo, I’m a Jedi Mind Tricks fan,’ but if you’re really hardcore into shit, you’ll find us.”

Listeners have been finding, and following, Jedi Mind Tricks for over a decade, and what they love about the group isn’t just the extreme nature of their music, but the fact that they have the skills to pull it off without it sounding forced. The violence in their lyrics is spectacularly over the top, bordering, at times, on the level of a Tokyo gore flick, but they have an authenticity in their delivery that makes the listener believe in their passion, and, as with all of their work, they manage to sprinkle some intellectual thought in amidst the smatterings of blood.

Their willingness, and eagerness, to take on just about anyone or anything in their rhymes is something else that makes Jedi Mind Tricks stand out. The church, the government and television are just a few of the cultural icons that have come under fire in their lyrics since they first stepped on the scene. Many of their fans have been with them since that time and that’s something the group doesn’t take lightly. Jus Allah notes, “I don’t think there was a group that I listened to from eight to eighteen that I thought was consistently dope.” Vinnie Paz seconds this, adding “a lot of groups from my generation just aren’t relevant anymore and that’s for one reason, they’re incapable of regenerating fans and getting the younger generation into their shit.”

The two lyricists have found there’s no generation gap when it comes to their own work. Not only do they have some famous fans, like UFC fighter Mac Danzig, who had Jus Allah in his corner for UFC 109 last month, Jus Allah notes their fan base keeps expanding, and that “it seems like they’re just getting younger and younger. A lot of the fans at the shows we just did on this tour in Europe were like 17, 18 years old, and I’m like, we put out Violent By Design ten years ago. You were eight years old when that came out.” According to Vinnie Paz this is a sure sign that “the music is getting flipped by older brothers, or parents, or older cousins.” At some shows he even sees the younger generation of fans there with their parents. “I think that shit’s cool,” he says, “I think it’s cool that they have something to share and I think that’s the reason we’ve been able to stay relevant and busy.”

Busy is an understatement. Vinnie Paz and Jus Allah just arrived home from Europe at the start of the month and on Wednesday, March 24th, they’ll be embarking on a 21 city tour that starts at Toad’s Place in New Haven. Vinnie Paz explains that their live shows are something they take great pride in, noting “after the boom in the late 80’s where you had Public Enemy, and NWA, and these people who put on amazing live shows, it sort of became this lost art. We always wanted to make it a point of ours to, on some level, bring that shit back; the energy, crowd participation, all that shit, so that it’s an experience rather than a couple people yelling into a microphone.”

Jus Allah describes the live Jedi Mind Tricks experience as one of “lettin out that raw energy of you don’t give a fuck about anything, like you just want to do what you want to do and nothing is stopping you from getting that done.”

The group is actually getting quite a few things done. After being on Babygrande Records since the label was founded in 2002, they recently launched their own label, Enemy Soil, and are currently readying a number of projects, including a new Army of the Pharaohs album, which will hit stores on March 30th, a few solo records that they’re in the process of finishing up, and a new Jedi Mind Tricks album they hope to release in 2011.

Showing no signs of slowing down, Jedi Mind Tricks are ready to bring their attitude and their edge to yet another generation of listeners.

Story originally ran in the NewHavenAdvocate.

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