Season Of The Assassin
Enemy Soil is an army, better yet a navy. The new imprint is coming strong in June with a trifecta of forceful releases: the Dutch project (Stoupe & Liz Fullerton, perhaps the strongest record of the three), another Reef The Lost Cauze solo joint and this the first solo effort from label founder Vinnie Paz, surprisingly devoid of JMT producer Stoupe’s beats. In any scenario, Philly is firmly on the topographical map again.
That said, as professional a rapper and hip-hop impresario as Vinnie Paz is (and oft thought-provoking lyrically), no one wants to hear 21 straight tracks of his unwaveringly gruff demeanor, no matter how many guests he gets (Freeway, Beanie Sigel, Clipse to name a trio). Paz’s flow is rather impeccable at this stage of his career but even on his more somber tracks (check for “Keep Movin’ On” featuring the lushly striking vocals of Shara Worden) his sledgehammer-styled vocal quality tends to distract and always keeps the tone dark as a DOA. And while some heavyweight producers lend ample hand (Muggs, Fizzy Womack, Da Beatminerz and most notably Madlib who artfully flips an ELO sample on “Aristotle’s Dilemma” into a track that nearly derails all thoughts of possible hate on this project), there is simply something that keeps this from being a superior set.
All things considered, this is a solid album especially if you’re in an angry-at-the-world mood. V-Paz is like a Negra Modelo, only tastes good with certain food, folk and fire. Far above average, but one can’t help but think a Stoupe banger or two would have aided Vincenzo’s cause here.