The 7th album from Philly hip hop icon Vinnie Paz is ‘Tortured In The Name Of God’s Unconditional Love‘ and it hits the headphones with authority! Hip hop heads know Vinnie Paz, they know what he brings to the mic, they know his extensive body of work including his solo catalogues but also his work leading Jedi Mind Tricks and Army Of The Pharoahs. On his latest project, Boxcutter Paz is back to his brutal best and this time he has enlisted a diverse range of collaborators and somehow upped his game on the production choice as well. When Paz talks, we listen and Tortured In The Name Of God’s Unconditional Love might just be his best solo release since ‘God of the Serengeti‘ or ‘The Pain Collector‘. Either way, the General doesn’t miss and this latest album is a blessing, so let’s get in and talk about it!
There is a lot about this album that is familiar which is a good thing when you are a fan of the music Vinnie has blessed us with over the journey. However, on this album there is still signs of progression and maturation as an artist an emcee which is refreshing and ensures that he still has your ear, even after another FULL LENGTH project which is 18 tracks long. The overall sonic landscape is dark, grimey, eerie but there are also a number of elements within this that move the needle and push that envelope a little further – with a gamut of producers each bringing their own take on what a ‘Vinnie Paz Beat’ should sound like. We get some nice keys, some interesting horns, the odd synth / reverb effect and it all adds to the audio canvas for Paz to spit his bully bars.
Regular contributors Stu Bangas (4 beats) and C-Lance (3 beats) are back on board deliverying robust and hearty drum heavy joints, but even these tracks are a more modern spin on the darker side of boom bap. Oh No, Vic Grimes and DJ Muggs also have production on the album as well as Farma, Bear-One, The Custodian of Records, Agor, Nickel Plated, Beatnik Dee & DJ Rybe and H. Potta, but even with a host of different producers, the album still sounds cohesive and well curated – but it certainly adds more musical variety to the soundtrack which is a hugely positive outcome. The beats are dope, varied and Paz has chosen tracks that work together but also that stand alone and have their own identity, making for an enjoyable listen – even if the neck gets RSI from all the nodding!
Along with the varied production, listeners are blessed with a diverse range of features on this joint and it’s super enjoyable to here the Pazmanian Devil spit alongside the revered emcees such as Ras Kass, Kurupt, Method Man and M.O.P among others. The usual suspects are back sharing bars and the booth, so we have ILL Bill, Lord Goat, Boob Bronx, Recognize Ali etc as well and we get a really dope collaboration with OT the Real who has been spitting lava of late and works really well alongside Paz. The star of the show is still Vinnie though, as he continues to deliver that gun talk, bully bars, concrete poetry and drop some knowledge grenades on heads in that iconic gruff, rugged flow.
Bangers: Killpoint, Curse of Canaan, Gunpowder Plot, Winged Assassins, Invisible Ether, Spoils of War.
Score: 10 / 10. This is a brilliant album from Vinnie Paz as he continues to build out a super impressive solo catalogue. It’s a more dense and diverse offering than As Above, So Below and Burn Everything That Bears Your Name, and the quality of bars, features and beats is a most impressive package. The album maintains a big time energy from the moment you press play, until you have to press play again and the soundbytes have been used more sparingly and with greater effect. Some really guilty pleasures with Ras Kass, Kurupt, M.O.P and Big Twins too which make this a flawless listen for me, and still fiending for more after half a dozens spins!