Posts tagged Army of the Pharaohs
Army of the Pharaohs is a kind of hip hop super group concocted of Jedi Mind Tricks, Celph Titled, Apathy, and a handful of Philadelphia hip hop affiliates. The Unholy Terror album finally dropped at the end of March after being delayed for a few months and has not left my car CD player since.
This album is the third in the group’s library and marks the return of fan favorite Apathy. He was missing on The Ritual of Battle to work on his solo career. He should have stayed on.
The Unholy Terror has the feel of both the previous albums The Torture Papers and The Ritual of Battle combined. The two albums were completely different in tone and instrumentally opposites. The Torture Papers was kind of a early-mid 90s throwback hip hop album with some hard hitting beats and very lyrically driving. Their sophomore album took on a much darker and violent tone, though not cartoonish or horrorcore by any means. The beats are more menacing and pulsating while the lyrics had become more about murder and violent acts. The Unholy Terror takes on both tones from the previous two albums and mashes them into something relatively unique, while still having that throwback feel to it.
Keep in mind this is not your dorm roommate’s “hip hop” (if you want to even call it that nowadays). AOTP is not creating an album for you to dance to or vibrate your back bumper off. The beats are on point and have that head-nod feel to them, but they are not the selling point of this group, nor is it meant to be. It’s pure hardcore hip hop at its finest. No one’s getting silly. You’re not going to be called a jerk from Vinnie Paz, but something more explicit and homophobic. This album is not for the easily offended. They will not hold back on the “tight jean wearing rapper” of today. Trust me.
There is a lot of charisma from a good portion of the group. Vinnie Paz of JMT, Celph Titled, Apathy, Planetary, and Reef the Lost Cause all have not fallen short of their lyrical prime and they each have something to bring to the table. Some of them will have more comical and vile approaches to a track (Celph), while others have more anger and aggression driven verses (Vinnie Paz). The blend gives each member a moment to shine over a beat. When one starts out with a darker verse, the other counteracts and we get a much more well rounded track.
There is, however, a few drawbacks. The album falters halfway through. The first 5 or six tracks are pure fire and can easily be listened to many times. Then it cools down with a few pick ups around tracks 11 and 12 and ends with another banger. There’s a track called “Suicide Girl” with a beat by Apathy and the tone is completely reverse from the rest of the album. There’s three verses about girls with issues. It does not fit. It’s not a bad song, but it should be on an Apathy solo if you ask me.
Another drawback is the other faceless and nameless rappers in the group. These include Des Devious, Demoz, King Magnetic, and others I don’t care to try and remember. There’s nothing “wrong” with them necessarily, it’s just that they have no personality. When the more prominent members of the group all have such driving personality and power to their verses and flows, it’s kind of a let down to have a verse in the middle of the track by some guy who is just another rapper. These guys don’t have horrible lyrics or flows, there’s just so little to them. Even Jus Allah, a man I despised on Jedi Mind Trick’s last album, who only has one verse on this entire album, brings something actually worthwhile to the table. Personality is a must if you’re trying to create a name for yourself in the underground rap game.
The album is a definite buy for real hip hop fans. This isn’t any Lil Wayne or Kanye hip-pop. It’s just pure, raw, hardcore hip hop at its finest.
4 BLLLAATs out of 5
Key tracks: “Agony Fires”, “Ripped to Shreds”, “Bust’em In”, “Godzilla”, “Spaz Out”
Here are a couple songs via Youtube: