By CMJ Staff, CMJ
BIueprint for violence or merely expression of outrage? Is an angry, politically-based record a threat to society, or is it just the red-faced powers that be feeling the heat? These are some of the questions raised by the second album from San Francisco's Paris, entitled Sleeplng with the Enemy. This University of California graduate offers a brutal collection of cuts intelligently devised to motivate black people to take notice of the conditions around them. With the determination of Pubic Enemy or the Black Panthers, and the incendiary nature of Ice Cube's recent releases, Paris deeply examines America and wages war on a conspiracy designed to continue the oppression of blacks. Over a musical framework more developed than the one on his first LP (it emulates many PE sound effects), Paris fires back at police brutality on "Coffee, Donuts & Death," and at the government and American values on several cuts, Including the rocked up "Bush Killa," in which he depicts an assassination of the president. Most of his political viewpoints are designed to exploit and expose ills (similar to Consolidated's approach), act out small bits of reality (as on "long Hot Summer") and force-feed an understanding of who is keeping minorities feeling like second-class citizens. "Guerrillas in the Mist" (an overused title) takes the music from "Break the Grip Of Shame" (from his first LP) and offers newly penned lyrics, revengeful rhymes shouted in the face of his people to wake them up. With its smoothed-out groove. "Assata's Song" shows Paris' love and esteem for black women (unfortunately it's rarely heard by most artists), while "Thinka 'Bout It"speaks out against drugs and black-on-black violence. Both fit nicely into his picture of a strong, united race that will not take a back seat any longer. Sleeping with the Enemy will incite rage, but more than anything, it will educate, exposing the most hateful crimes America has long been committing on its own people. Don't sleep on: "Make Way for a Panther," "House Niggas Bleed Too," "The Days Of Old," "Conspiracy of Silence," and "Rise."