Album Review: Vinnie Paz – Season of the Assassin

Vinnie Paz Season of the Assassin
Babygrande: 2010

Jedi Mind Tricks and supergroup Army of the Pharoahs aside, Vinnie Paz has always been one not to pass judgment on.  Lyrically sound, equally forceful, but full of hilarious head-nodding punchlines, once put to soundscapes be they Stoupe, or any other beatmaker, he has always been able to distinguish himself amongst many other emcees.  So we are now at the dawn of his debut record, Season of the Assassin, which if anything, serves as a historically significant debut that lets you know his significance during his hip-hop years, all 17 of them. And while it’s not a bad debut by any means, there are occasions that do require a scratch of the head.

You can see it in the guest list; pretty much some of underground’s finest and mainstream’s scorned have made their way on here. That means you get a lineup featuring Freeway, Clipse, Beanie Sigel, Sick Jacken of The Psycho Realm, Ill Bill of Non-Phixion in the booth while you also have producers who run the same gamut: Madlib, DJ Muggs, MoSS, Shucko, ManyBeats, Stu Bangas, MTK, and many others. They have all come to bless Vinnie with a ton of material, and a great deal of itl succeeds in great record making material.  You could hear it in the stark and eerie keys on “End of Days”, the rockin’ drums on “Bad Day” provided by Da Beatminerz, and the soulful and dark soundscape provided on “Aristotle’s Dilemma”. They all do the job to complement Vinnie’s gruff and autobiographical delivery. Then you even have the hilariously crazy-sounding “WarMonger” with an epic horn backing provided by Fizzy Womack AKA Lil Fame of M.O.P. And you’d swear that “No Spiritual Surrender”, with Sick Jacken, could have fit somewhere within The Mask & The Assassin as a decent B-side, whereas the melodic harpsichord in “Washed In The Blood of the Lamb” helps Vinnie fit his religious preaching (Islamic for those who don’t know) with his tried-and-true tough guy delivery.

But  in the end, you’re dealing with about 21 cuts, which at 76 minutes is quite a daunting task on a record.  And to pull it off fluidly is a lot to ask. For the most part, it could have been cut down to a lean 12- to 14-cut record that would have helped it become a concise listen and better introduce a new listener to Vinnie for those who aren’t familiar with his discography.  Aside from that one gripe, Season of the Assassin does a fine job of being, for the most part, a solid listen from a solid emcee. And the highlight of this record is easily “Same Story (My Dedication)”, which is a proper dedication to his friend Rock. It’s filled with melodic pianos and guitars courtesy of Scott Stallone, and helps Vinnie just kind of let loose, which in turn gives the listener a little peer into the thoughts of Vinnie.  The beginning of the record states “He’s a fighter…Vinnie’s a born fighter.”  So fight on, Vinnie. Fight on.

3.5 out of 5
[audio:|titles=Vinnie Paz – Street Wars f. Clipse]

7 thoughts on “Album Review: Vinnie Paz – Season of the Assassin

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  1. Awesome blog, you inspired me to create my own a while back. Check it out and let me know if you have any suggestions. Keep the great reviews coming!

  2. This album was decent. There was some corny ass singing thru out and the one song (Paul & Paz) w/ Paul Wall just didn’t seem right. Very awkward chemistry on that track. Most of the beats were pretty hard, which kept me tuned in. Vinnie’s voice & same predictable pattern got to be a lil monotonous towards the latter half of the LP. I do agree w/ all of the above comments about his talk of Islam. It just makes me wanna chuckle when it comes into play like we really give a damn about his faith & the whole shock factor. Other than that mess, this is a good solo debut (although I’d prolly rather just stick to JMT material if I was Vin).

  3. For a shit-talkin LP, this is pretty good. I couldn’t take any of his religious views any more serious than his infatuation with death. It’s all a painted picture and he’s kickin the expected elements. I agree with this review on the track count. There’s no need to stretch things this far but, he prolly wanted to satisfy his fan base with no questions asked.

  4. the gulliest|

    meh i thought it was a straight album….

  5. ^Agreed on all points here Justin.

    I think for a persons religious views, unless expressed as artistically as one can be, should be left off a record. Some great examples would be folks like Chali 2na, Mars Ill or Lupe (least his intros are pretty straight forward in this aspect) for example.

    But that’s an interesting topic right there I wouldn’t mind exploring.

  6. Just checked out the song…he references Allah exactly once. The rest is his usual poly-tradition bloodbath stuff. Paz was a disciple of Malachi York at the beginning of the JMT era, and Nuwabu was a very “mixed” tradition, since York claimed to be a prophet in every world religion at once. I guess when Nibiru didn’t come for the 144,000 chosen in 2003, Paz and company got a disappointed and left the fold, but that’s strictly speculation. There’s a fucking amazing article waiting to be written there, especially when you factor in the Lost Children of Babylon beef.

    I think Paz’s devotion to Islam is stricly on a “Shock Value” level and nothing he says is really influenced by that culture. I’m sure most Muslims would rather he STFU about it, to the extent they even notice or care about him.

  7. Vinnie still claims Islam? That is too fucking funny. I gotta check that song out, I bet it’s the Unintentional Hilarity Anthem of 2010.

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