on 19 May 2004
I still remember the first time i'd heard Violent By Design.
It was a few years back, and i'd not heard anything from the group before, And, liking the name, I purchased the album on a whim from an obscure website.
fast forward 3 weeks later, I was woken by that satisfying 'clunk' of mail falling through your letterbox . I opened the package, and had almost forgotten about ordering the album. Heres what I heard
1.Intro - Not rated
2.Retaliation - 5 Stars*****
This was the First Jedi track i'd ever heard. Oh my God. Melodic, thumping bassline thunders over beautiful violins. Pure Thugged out lyrics as well
3.Contra - 4 Stars****
Reminiscent of Gza's Liquid Swords track, Sounds perhaps Japanese, Not as intense as retaliation but the lyrics that Jus and Vinnie spit are insane.
4.Speech Cobras - 5 Stars*****
Starts with a cool soundbyte from the bizarre movie Pi, the 'Funkiest' track on VBD, but Stoupe has created a beat so subtley haunting and pleasing, its impossible to not like.
5.Breath of God (interlude)
Stephen Hawking voice samples over bells, a drum n bass beat and violins. Very cool and eerie.
6.Death March - 5 Stars*****
Jesus Christ. This is one of the sickest beats you will EVER hear. It sounds like Satan himself has created the beat for this posse cut, featuring Virtuoso and Esoteric. high pitched horns, Deep and EVIL notes resound in background with perhaps Vinnie Paz's best ever verse:
''We ravenous/ exhume the tomb of Lazarus/ You blasphemous we bring war to pacifists!''. Absolutely insane.
7.Words From Mr Len (Part 1)Interlude
Answering Machine message from the former Company Flow member. Amazing orchestral background music.
8.I Against I - 5 Stars*****
SICKENING beat, i don't know of anyone who doesn't like this. Soft, melodic notes make this sound like a dope daydream in audible form, but the viscious battle rhymes turn it into a spiralling nightmare. Jus Allah proclaims that ''In The Twilight ZOne We Disperse Cowards/ We're Vampires That Stalk the earth on Reverse Hours''
9.5 Perfect Exertions Remix - 5 Stars*****
ANOTHER beautiful beat. A warm, resonating female vocal sample is punctuated with dramatic, cascading violins. Words cannot describe how sick this beat is. Vinnie and Jus have a little help from their friends (Virt, Esoteric and Bahamadia)and the lyrical performances are stellar, also. Just for ill effect, Stoupe also blesses the music with nightime animal subliminal noises, such as crickets, wasps and snakes.
10.The Prophecy Interlude
Very Cool movie sample over a twin peaks style, moody guitar loop
11.Heavenly Divine 5 Stars*****
The title says it all. Viscious, aggressive battle rhymes over a beautifully understated Flute and violin loop. By now, you'll think your dreaming because it seems that the LP cannot get any better. But it does...
12.Sacrifice - 5 Stars*****
This track deserves 10 stars. one of the single most UNBELIEVABLE beats you will ever hear. from an intro that has bugged crate diggers for years, the track progresses to a ridiculously dark, filtered piano onslaught, with cuts of classical orchestra, monk-like murmurs and pounding drums that resonate like bombs being dropped. Even includes a scratched chorus of Big Pun saying 'sacrifice'. What more can you ask for?
13.Permanent midnight - Interlude
Dark, mysterious and moody. Very cool.
14 the Deer Hunter 5 Stars *****
Stoupe has upped the ante AGAIN. Amazingly dope harp flutters in and around the drums, while guest, Chief Kamachi drops an unbelievable verse about elaborate scrolls, magic books and the street. The chorus is equally ill. SICK mellow track.
15. Blood Reign - 3.5 Stars ***1/2
Thankfully this track comes along, because another sick track would've probably killed me. This track is still ill- Stoupe flips a spanish guitar sample, that serves as fodder for the hungry mc's (especially Vinnie who sounds even more demonic than usual)
16.Words from mr len part 2
17. ghengis Khan - 4.5 stars ****1/2
SICK sample from a movie soundtrack is flipped, dramatic and tense, it builds VBD back up.
18.Trinity -5 Stars *****
This beat is insane. Sprawling violins, peak and drop, each MC kills it, Vinnie (who sounds even angrier than usual) has a dope simile referring to Catcher in the rye protagonist Holden Caufield.
19.Executioners Dream -5 Stars *****
REAL trippy, disgustingly dark mellow beat. Jus spits some nice rhymes about him being ''the slave with snapped shackles''. This beat is purely demonic. Vinnie spits some of his usual ultra-angry yet esoteric battle rhymes - ''The author that scorch ya with the the torturer Josef Mengele''
20.Muerte - 5 Stars - *****
Yet ANOTHER amazing beat. A real head nodder, sampled from an old spanish record, it fuses piano keys, quiet guitar strums and a vocal sample. Jus and Vinnie spit amazing rhymes. When the track finishes, there is a beautiful OUTRO, which utilises violins, pianos and a sample of wilfred owen's war poetry being read aloud. Amazing cinematic finish to a masterpiece of an album.
But wait, theres more
21. Hidden Track - War ensamble- 5 stars *****
Vinnies rhymes on this are some of the best he's ever spit - ''conquered this from a foetus to genius/ Took dna from the shroud of turin and clones jesus!' The beat is an ill piano sample which is pure darkness, and menace. the other AOTP mebers kill it as well.
To conclude, this is an amazing, masterpiece of music. It is structured in a dense, cinematic way, you won't be skipping a single track. Although some may be put off by Vinnie and Jus Allahs (its a shame he quit the group) aggressive battle rhymes, they still include intellectual references, and Vinnie constantly refers to mythology, religion and the occult as much as he refers to firing guns and maiming people. Although Vinnie is one of the better white rappers around, the star of the show really is Stoupe, who has created a demonic, yet beautiful, banging assortment of soundscapes.
EVen if you aren't a fan of hip-hop (rap) music, chances are you will still like this. If you ARE a fan of rap music, then this should already be in your collection.