Vinnie Paz God of the Serengeti

The sophomore solo album from Vinnie Paz (Jedi Mind Tricks) is surprisingly satisfying. Yeah, he's still a raspy-voiced goon bragging about his skills, with violent and religious imagery, but intelligence and wit win out over try-hard shock value. Vinnie P needs more songs like "You Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train," which breaks down the history of Western racism and tyranny, backed by factual statements, rather than burying the little bits of information among all his bullshit braggadocio. The abundance of guests also adds nice variety to the vocals. As always, R.A. the Rugged Man steals the show with his verse on "Razor Gloves," but there are impressive appearances by Q-Unique, Immortal Technique, Scarface, Apathy, Esoteric and Kool G Rap, and that barely scratches the surface. The production is a selection of banging beats and atmospheric instrumentals, with veterans like DJ Lethal, Havoc and Psycho Les providing some fine production. But it's DJ Premier's crunchy, aggressive beat for "The Oracle" that stands out most. In-house producer C-Lance also succeeds with "Slum Chemist," thanks to a great drum track, and a violin sample that gives the song a Middle Eastern vibe, as does long-time collaborator MTK's "Razor Gloves," the up-tempo drums and various synth sounds giving way to moments of isolated tuba. God of the Serengeti should impress fans and may even bring back some of those who miss the Psycho-Social days. (Enemy Soil)