Paris - Acid Reflex
By David Jefferies, Allmusic.com
The "preaching to the converted" problem San Francisco rapper Paris shares with so many other politically charged rappers has a lot to do with titling songs "Bush Killa" or in the case of his 2008 effort, juxtaposing images of Uncle Sam, a baby, and a hand grenade. This leaves no chance of anyone being blindsided by the anti-war, anti-Bush, or other anti-establishment messages contained within, but there's a circle within Paris' circle of hardcore fans that might be disrupted by Acid Reflex's key track, "The Violence of the Lambs." While so many of his contemporaries are rapping the praises of the democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, Paris offers commentary on the man without mentioning his name by laying the infamous Reverend Jeremiah Wright's "we bombed babies" speech over a soulful beat. It's a speech that Obama denounced and the dry presentation of it here seems to suggest the rapper/producer believes the revolution will not be elected, at least not a revolution that would satisfy Paris. Strongly agree or strongly disagree, it's a brilliantly constructed track, most effective as the album was released in late 2008. This might explain why a bulk of the other tracks sound unfinished, a major letdown for the casual fan since Acid Reflex is Paris' first official full-length in five years save the 2006 collaboration with Public Enemy, Rebirth of a Nation. While the words are all top-notch and will have fans starving for material declaring the album a triumph, the beats sound out of touch and the hooks are short on supply. As hard as it is to criticize an album that aims to give $30,000 away to further education -- three random copies were packaged with a "Golden Ticket" good for a 10K scholarship -- it's uncompromising to a fault and just doesn't live up to previous efforts.