Vinnie Paz Declares War On The Notion That Conflict Truly Helps People (Audio)

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Jedi Mind Tricks front man Vinnie Paz is releasing his third solo album, The Cornerstone of the Corner Store, this week (October 28). Within, the veteran Philly MC collaborates with the likes of Ghostface Killah, Ras Kass, and D.I.T.C.’s O.C. & A.G. tandem. Besides J.M.T. partner Stoupe The Enemy of Mankind on the boards, production is tackled by Buckwild (D.I.T.C.), Psycho Les (The Beatnuts), 7L (CZARFACE), and others.

Throughout his nearly 20-year career (which includes work with Black Thought, DJ Premier, and Clipse), Vinnie shines the brightest when he has a bone to pick, and an issue to examine. The passion and writing of the MC—who is also part of Army Of The Pharaohs and Heavy Metal Kings—comes out in a big way. Records like “Uncommon Valor” (by J.M.T. and R.A. The Rugged Man) is a resounding example of that. On his last full-length, 2012’s God Of The Serengeti, Paz released the sprawling, seven-and-a-half-minute historical indictment “You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train.” That title came from Howard Zinn’s 1994 book and corresponding documentary, chronicling modernity. Paz began looking at history through the eyes of Zinn, who understood how it really happened (and why) as opposed to what it is often taught in schools.

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Cornerstone’s “Writings on Disobedience and Democracy” (another Zinn text reference) is the first sequel of what is believed to be a three-part series. On a dynamic beat by C-Lance, Vin professes, “This country’s built on the blood of other people’s pain,” as he examines World War II and the hesitancy to take action until the 1940s. “The main interest was never to stop fascism / But advancing imperialist interests of that prism / Roosevelt ain’t care about oppression of the Jews / The power was the priority I’m telling you the truth / Hitler not the reason that we entered the land / Roosevelt was mad that we got hit by Japan / Historians will tell you he provoked that shit / He told lies in attempts to sugar coat that shit / In ‘45 troops were jammed onto the Queen Mary / The Blacks were stowed down in the depths of the same ferry,” slams Paz in the second verse.

In the third verse, Vinnie moves his pen and mental lens to domestic issues leading to the Civil Rights Movement. “The Black revolt in the ’50s came as a surprise / It shouldn’t have after we took so many of their lives / You can’t erase the memory of an oppressed people / Reparation doesn’t make it any less evil.” With six verses in total, the Pazmanian Devil teaches history as he sees it—including President Richard Nixon’s Watergate Scandal, the 1980s unemployment crisis, and the Philadelphia, Mississippi execution of three Civil Rights freedom fighters. This is dense, but a crash-course in history—from its ugly to its uncomfortable.

Like “Nature of the Threat” from the aforementioned Ras Kass or “Dance With The Devil” by Immortal Technique (both frequent Vinnie collaborators), this is an exercise in songwriting, rapping, and opining a Hip-Hop storyline in one of the most sophisticated ways possible.

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This song, if any, is one where the lyrics on a page drive as much impact as Paz’s deft delivery in sound:

Spotted at egotrip!.