Review: Jedi Mind Tricks (@jmthiphop) Live At Islington Academy

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“A lot of emcees…a lot of rap­pers out there, you know, they lucky to spit one hot verse, may­be drop an EP.  man Vin­nie Paz been put­ting this shit down for 20 con­sec­ut­ive mother­fuck­in’ years, record after record, clas­sic after classic…salute that mother­fuck­er”

Eso­ter­ic dropped that quote on stage in front of the sold out crowd at the Jedi Mind Tricks show on April 11th at Isling­ton Academy. This sim­ple line encap­su­lated the career of one of the illest under­ground emcees and co-founder of one of the greatest groups that our cul­ture has pro­duced. Des­pite, of course, leav­ing a lot essen­tial details out – the depth of the con­tent, the largely inde­pend­ent releases, the men­tal health issues – the Army of the Pharaohs/Czarface emcee cap­tured a lot of the things Vin­nie Paz and JMT are so deeply respec­ted and will be so widely remembered for –the pro­li­fic con­sist­ency of the highest grade, raw, rugged, uncut, hard­core Hip Hop. That’s why the show was sold out, that’s why they always are, (“that’s why you copped my shit 9 times at the same store”) and that’s why the crowd saluted the per­form­ance with an almost con­stant mosh pit. Ded­ic­ate fans reflect­ing the work of a truly ded­ic­ated emcee.

The ven­ue was full as soon as the doors opened. People had been queuing for hours before, try­ing to get hold of a tick­et. Before the main event, the crowd were blessed­by some of the best under­ground tal­ent that Lon­don has to offer. Rep­res­ent­ing the inter­na­tion­al grass­roots Hip Hop organ­isa­tion End of the Weak, the organ­isers of the UK chapter – founders DJ Snuff and Kissy K and former UK Cham­pi­on Mas Law – brought out a crazy line-up. Sus Bully, Da Flyy Hoo­ligan, Gen­es­is Elijah,Phili N Dotz and cur­rent Cham­pi­on Gee Bag per­formed their bangers before Kropz, Con­sensus and one dude called Apex Zero were brought into the circle for a cypher that got crazy. Raw lyr­i­cism, genu­ine free­style, bat­tling, polit­ic­al com­ment­ary and more were on dis­play, high­light­ing mul­tiple levels of the art of the emcee – exactly what EOW stands for – set­ting the tone for the main event.

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As Mas called out the introductions…the crowd were gassed! Even with a warm up that dope, these fans were there for one reas­on only. The noise when 7L came out to setup, fol­lowed by Eso­ter­ic, was a mad­ness – and the level went even higher when the Pazmani­an Dev­il akaIkon The Verbal Holo­gram aka Box­cut­ter Pazzy hit the stage. The mosh kicked off INSTANTLY. Shit got so rowdy so quickly that Vin­nie Paz stopped the show in the second track to get two girls pulled out of the crowd to stop them from being crushed. The show con­tin­ued in the same vein all the way through, as Vin­nie and Eso­ter­ic ran through clas­sics from solo, Jedi Mind Tricks, Army of the Pharaoh, Heavy Metal Kings and Czar­face albums, with the hard­core sup­port­ers down the front spit­ting every mem­or­ised word. More than a few fist fights broke out, man­dem surfed the crowd, ladies were on shoulders, people were pulled out the crowd dehyd­rated and battered – cas­u­al­ties of the con­tinu­ous mosh. Secur­ity couldn’t drag out every­one who was rais­ing up, mean­ing the night went down, etched into the memory of every­one involved as yet another raw as fuck Jedi Mind Tricks show.

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The livest responses came when ‘Heav­enly Divine’ and ‘End of Days’ dropped, but the most poignant part of the night was Vinnie’s ded­ic­a­tion to the recently passed legend Sean Price, taken too early in August 2015. Echo­ing many of the Hip Hop com­munity who knew Sean P per­son­ally, Vin­nie spoke of him as a brother and vowed to nev­er let that brother die as he lives on through his music. When “Blood Runs Cold” dropped the crowed respon­ded the way Hip hop heads should; they got as hype as pos­sible and spat the bars as loud as they could.

The show was ILL, liv­ing up to the expect­a­tions of those who have seen JMT before and, I’m sure, inspir­ing another gen­er­a­tion of fans in the same way I was when I first saw them live. The energy expressed and reflec­ted off the crowd showed was evid­ence of a per­son who has mastered their craft. Before the show I was able to build with Vin­nie for I AM HIP HOP and GLOB­AL FAC­TION and he said, quot­ing his father, that he feels he’s got­ten to where he has because “it’s not work if you love it” and that he has to be in the stu­dio weekly. He is proof that with that level of com­mit­ment to an art form, or any chosen dir­ec­tion, it can bear fruit, can take you around the world, can build you a com­mit­ted fan­base, even when you are posi­tioned largely out­side of, even opposed to, the mass media machine.

The full inter­view with Vin­nie Paz will be com­ing soon on I AM HIP HOP and GLOB­AL FACTION’s plat­forms. While you’re wait­ing, if you want some more raw lyr­i­cism, reach End of the Weak’s first round of the 2017 Emcee Chal­lenge, this Thursday 27th April 2017 upstairs at the icon­ic Ritzy Cinema in Brix­ton. There are still pos­i­tions open to emcees who want to enter the com­pet­i­tion and test out their skills. You can find EOW UK on Face­book: https://www.facebook.com/eowldn/ or email them for more info at EOWLDN@GMAIL.COM

Pho­tos by KT Wat­son (www.ktw.photography) 

Keep up to date with Jedi Mind Tricks on their Offi­cial Face­book Page

To see exactly what you missed out on check out the foot­age from Glob­al Fac­tion and I Am Hip Hop Magazine:

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Apex Zero

Apex Zero

Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been express­ing his anti-polit­ic­al views and extend­ing his work towards defin­ing, inspir­ing and cre­at­ing last­ing change through Hip Hop for over a dec­ade. Apex has been work­ing with grass­roots and mil­it­ant organ­isa­tions, edu­cat­ing him­self and oth­ers, organ­ising and build­ing towards over­turn­ing the oppress­ive mech­an­ism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s under­ground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omni­scient. Years of earn­ing respect and enhan­cing their repu­ta­tion, which lead to col­lab­or­a­tions and work­ing rela­tion­ships with many of the scenes most prom­in­ent artists and organ­isa­tions, mani­fes­ted in the Octo­ber 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Real­ity Pro­vok­ing Lib­er­a­tion’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hard­core Hip Hop’ gathered inter­na­tion­al acclaim from both fans and crit­ics, fur­ther enhan­cing Apex’s repu­ta­tion as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-polit­ic­al, ‘revolu­tion­ary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been trav­el­ling out­side of the UK, seek­ing new per­spect­ives and aim­ing at enhan­cing his out­look, explor­ing dif­fer­ent soci­et­ies, con­nect­ing with Hip Hop heads, act­iv­ists and schol­ars world­wide. Like his music, his writ­ing is often an exten­sion of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whil­st enhan­cing and elev­at­ing both the cul­ture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.

About Apex Zero

Apex Zero
Apex Zero is an emcee and beat maker who has been expressing his anti-political views and extending his work towards defining, inspiring and creating lasting change through Hip Hop for over a decade. Apex has been working with grassroots and militant organisations, educating himself and others, organising and building towards overturning the oppressive mechanism at large since his mid-teens, around the same time that he entered London’s underground Hip Hop scene as part of his crew, First and Last with his brother OMeza Omniscient. Years of earning respect and enhancing their reputation, which lead to collaborations and working relationships with many of the scenes most prominent artists and organisations, manifested in the October 2013 release of Apex’s debut solo album ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’. The 15 tracks of self-described ‘Neo-Hardcore Hip Hop’ gathered international acclaim from both fans and critics, further enhancing Apex’s reputation as one of the strongest and clearest voices in anti-political, ‘revolutionary’ Hip Hop in the UK. Based in Beijing, China since 2014, Apex has been travelling outside of the UK, seeking new perspectives and aiming at enhancing his outlook, exploring different societies, connecting with Hip Hop heads, activists and scholars worldwide. Like his music, his writing is often an extension of his ideas and efforts to effect change in the world whilst enhancing and elevating both the culture of Hip Hop and the people who embody it.