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Cop Killer, Bush Killer, Unapologetic - Sonic Jihad


While fellow Bay Area Hip Hop artists the Coup pulled their controversial Sept 2001 release cover of the twin towers blowing up, Paris came out with his post-9/11 response sporting the graphic of a plane flying into the white house. Two years later Sonic Jihad has actually hit the shelves.

Following in the wake of the controversy surrounding Body Count's song "Cop Killer," Paris last made a lot of noise declaring himself a "Bush Killa." A decade later he still stands by that label, rapping about killing pigs including George W. Paris is a product of hip hop days when the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam and Five Percenters were dominant influences, something he points out is sorely missing from Black culture today--a result of it being co-opted by white corporate interests.

Paris is clear about who the real enemy is: pigs on the street and politicians in office. He points out that Amerika neutralizes Black people with the strategy of "put the men in the prisons, turn the women to whores." But he doesn't pull any punches in putting the responsibility on lumpen-turned-bourgeois Blacks for participating in their own destruction. Constantly tearing down studio gangsters who play into the designs of the white-owned record companies who want to act "like the Black life is all gats and crack pipes." The track "Evil" is a narrative of how to become an oppressor, modeled closely after the history of white oppression of Blacks in America. Here again, he talks about the oppressed killing and pimping each other and destroying themselves, making it clear that it is the result of the conditions enforced by the oppressor.

While he certainly takes a macho tough guy attitude when addressing the oppressor, Paris consistently puts forth a positive image of Black women as he does for the community as a whole. "Black women more than asses and breasts, I test any nigger disagreeing." This is one point where he sees life replicating art and the results are not pretty when your art is controlled by people who have committed genocide against your people for centuries.

While Paris dedicates all praise to God in the liner notes, he isn't waiting around for divine intervention to make things better. The religious tone is not noticeable on much of the album with the exception of the engaging demonic theme of the intro.

Overall, Sonic Jihad is a very positive, revolutionary album. The track "What Would You Do?" was pre-released on the web featuring some good analysis of 9/11. One powerful line on that track is, "But I remember before September how these devils do it, Fuck Guiliani, ask Diallo how he doin?" He goes on to say "fuck peace," presumably in response to pacifists in the emerging anti-war movement following the invasion of Afghanistan and then Iraq. He was saying the same thing during the Gulf War, pointing out that there is no peace for oppressed people until we change the system. He goes on to condemn the U.$. role in 9/11, "You think a couple thousand lives mean shit to killers?.. so I'm a say it for the record/ we the ones that planned it/ ain't no other country took no part or had their hand in it." This is a topic he gets into in great depth in the movie "AfterMath" that he worked on with the Guerrilla News Network. His website includes links to a lot of other good information including a video on blood diamonds in Sierra Leone, articles on the war and civil liberties in the U.S.

So, what would Paris do? Take back hip hop, expose government lies. Not a bad start. But one might expect more from longtime revolutionary figureheads like Paris. There are many thorough accounts of the faults of the current system, the harder task is coming up with real programs that can eliminate those problems. Paris has got a lot of good stuff to say, but his message would benefit from a little more influence from organizations like the Panthers whose emblem he incorporates into his own. The general message one gets from this album of what is to be done is a combination of shooting cops and rebuilding Black culture and identity. Paris never recognizes the need for a serious revolutionary program. That perhaps forgivable, but vital shortcoming aside, we can highly recommend this album.

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