Paris - Sonic Jihad
By Jason Grimes, YRB
Beware jingoists everywhere: the hip-hop generation's original extremist liberal prognosticator Paris is back and more pissed off than ever. And while the cover of his new LP Sonic Jihad is the definition of crass, the aphorism about judging a book by its cover luckily applies in this case. What may be a thinly disguised get-rich-quick scheme carried out in horribly bad taste is, upon further review, so much more.
Paris seems to work like recessions; he disappears for a few years, only to return with ire during Republican administrations. And although it's been over a decade since he was truly at the top of his game, he's back in excellent form trying to inspire the youth to Cripwalk with middle fingers raised to the Bush family mausoleums for some old-fashioned grave dancing. As soundtracks to revolution go, Sonic Jihad is banger upon banger of the sickest beats, all produced by our main man P-Dogg himself. Heavily West Coast and funky, this LP is truly music to drive by.
Lyrically, it's no slouch either. Paris, along with partners-in-crime Dead Prez and Public Enemy, wage war with lyrics that are half-fuel, half-fertilizer on "Freedom" and its remix. "Spilt Milk" (featuring Capelton) lambastes the fake record label-and critic-fueled Rap industry. "Evil" finds Paris laying out a Hip Hop blueprint more gangsta than anything KRS-1 or Jay-Z ever dreamed of, as he takes on a transparent personality pursuing the American Dream by any means necessary.
Sonic Jihad is consistently articulate and thought-provoking while avoiding cliche and unintentional doggerel, a difficult task considering the extreme subject matter. Paris carries off hardcore political Rap with a sincerity and skill matched by so few these days. And when the dust settles, that may be the most revolutionary thing about this Sonic Jihad.