White Rappers

Vinnie Paz

Vinnie Paz Imgae

Years Active: 1997-present
Label: Superegular, Babygrande
Best Known Song: Jedi Mind Tricks f/ R.A. the Rugged Man, “Uncommon Valor (A Vietnam Story)”

“If it weren’t for his original moniker, Ikon the Verbal Hologram, you might not know that Vinnie Paz, the Philly rapper behind underground mainstay Jedi Mind Tricks, is actually of the pale Italian persuasion. Thanks to metal plates in this converted Muslim’s mouth, he has a raspy, gravelly voice that makes him sound extra grimy (like a white Big Twins!) as he spits pseudo-violence and conscious aggression about religion, war, and government.” Complex Media on Vinnie Paz

Biography

Vincenzo Luvineri (born October 5, 1977), better known as Vinnie Paz (formerly known as Ikon the Verbal Hologram), is an Italian American rapper and the lyricist behind the Philadelphia underground hip hop group Jedi Mind Tricks. He is also the frontman of the hip hop supergroup Army of the Pharaohs.

Paz is known for his raw and gritty lyrical delivery. His lyrics frequently contain references to religion, war, politics, mythology, conspiracy theories, and the paranormal. His more recent albums such as Servants in Heaven Kings in Hell show a more obvious approach to politics and world issues. This gritty style of Paz became apparent with the release of Violent by Design, and has become progressively more defined since its release. Vinnie Paz has a number of aliases, such as: Ikon the Verbal Hologram, Louie Doggs, Boxcutter Pazzy, Hologram, Paz, Vinnie P, The Pazmanian Devil, Ikon The Python, and Pazienza. Raised Catholic, Vinnie Paz is now a Muslim, which plays a major role in much of his lyrics, often controversially, as on Heavenly Divine, where he rapped “I’m with Allah ’cause he chose me, I broke into the Vatican, strangled The Pope with his rosary.” Vinnie is also a heavy metal fan, and occasionally uses song titles and band names in JMT tracks and lyrics.

He released his first solo album, Season of the Assassin. This was 18 years after Paz had originally started rapping. Paz started occasionally writing articles for the website maxboxing.com in 2011. He released his second album God of the Serengeti in October 2012. In 2013, Paz confirmed that he is working with Army of the Pharaohs to release In Death Reborn, which is due 2014. October 22, 2013 marked the release date of his second EP; Carry On Tradition.

Image of Vinnie Paz

Early Life & Career

Vinnie Paz was born in Sicily, Italy, where he lived for a short time before moving with his family to Clifton Heights,Pennsylvania. This Italian heritage can be seen in his love for Italian food. During the early 1990s, Paz realized he had a passion for music, and started rapping at the age of 16. Originally taking the pseudonym “Ikon the Verbal Hologram”. Paz originally started rapping with fellow Jedi Mind Tricks member Stoupe in his basement.

In 1996, Vinnie Paz released the Amber Probe EP. This was the debut EP from the duo and it was released in 1996. It featured guest appearance from The Lost Children of Babylon. It was in 1997, Jedi Mind Tricks released their debut album; The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness (often abbreviated as The Psycho-Social CD). The group only consisted of Vinnie Paz, and Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind at this time and featured Apathy, Jus Allah, and Black Thought.

Jedi Mind Tricks

Paz formed Jedi Mind Tricks with high school friend Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind, a producer and DJ also from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1993. They released their first EP in 1996 called Amber Probe through the Label Superegular Records, which featured three original tracks, two remixes and one instrumental all produced by Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind. Jedi Mind Tricks’ first official album came out the following year. It was called The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness, “The Psycho-Social” for short. The album originally sold 1000 vinyl copies through Superegular Records, but was re-released in 2003 to combine for 25,000 sales. The album focuses mostly on astronomy, history and physics.

Jedi Mind Tricks Image

Jedi Mind Tricks added two new members DJ Kwestion from Philadelphia in 1997, and Jus Allah from Camden, New Jersey in 1999. They went on to record seven studio albums with sales totaling over 250,000 in the US and 450,000 worldwide (only some including Jus Allah and DJ Kwestion). They also recorded fourteen EPs/singles.

The group has collaborated with many other mostly underground east coast rappers including GZA, Kool G Rap, 7L & Esoteric, Sean Price, Ras Kass, Canibus, Percee P, Killah Priest, Immortal Technique, Virtuoso, Louis Logic, R.A. the Rugged Man, Tragedy Khadafi, and Ill Bill.

After a falling out with Babygrande Records, the group created their own record label called Enemy Soil. They produce for artists such as Reef the Lost Cauze, Dutch, and Army of the Pharaohs. Jedi Mind Tricks released its most recent album titled Violence Begets Violence in 2011.

Army of the Pharaohs

Paz formed Army of the Pharaohs, an underground East Coast hip hop group featuring himself, Apathy, Celph Titled, Chief Kamachi, 7L & Esoteric, Planetary & Crypt the Warchild (OuterSpace), King Syze, Faez One, Jus Allah, Doap Nixon, Reef the Lost Cauze, Demoz, Block Mccloud, and Des Devious, although not every artist is on every track.

The original incarnation of the group included five MCs: Vinnie Paz, Chief Kamachi, Esoteric, Virtuoso and Bahamadia, along with Jedi Mind Tricks producer/DJ 7L (of 7L & Esoteric fame). The group released their debut EP/single “The Five Perfect Exertions b/w War Ensemble” in 1998. Both tracks were later included on JMT’s 2000 album Violent by Design; with “The Five Perfect Exertions” being remixed into “Exertions Remix”, and both “Exertions” and “War Ensemble” shedding Chief Kamachi’s appearance. The Army of the Pharaohs project was put on the back-burner while JMT’s career took off.

Heavy Metal Kings

Heavy Metal Kings is a group featuring veteran rappers Ill Bill and Vinnie Paz. In 2006, Ill Bill was featured on the single “Heavy Metal Kings” by hip hop duo Jedi Mind Tricks, released through Babygrande Records. The single was released in a limited edition blue vinyl pressing, with every copy signed by group vocalist Vinnie Paz. The duo came together after Ill Bill was featured on Jedi Mind Tricks single titled Heavy Metal Kings back in 2007. The pair released their self-titled debut collaboration album in 2011; Heavy Metal Kings. More releases including Black God White Devil in 2014 and Heavy Metal Kings vs. DJ Muggs.

Converting to Islam

Vinnie was raised Roman Catholic, like many in southern Philadelphia. Although his family practiced Catholicism, Vinnie always felt disconnected from the religion. In high school, a good friend of his was Muslim, and whose home he frequented often. His friend’s father soon began teaching Paz about the Qur’an, which became his first foray into the new religion. As an adult, he gradually converted to Islam, and remains a Muslim to this day. In an interview with Jason Goss, Paz stated; “Growing up yeah, I’m Italian and from Philly, so obviously my family is Roman Catholic. Religion and spirituality are a strange thing, ya know? Most people just grow up and accept the propaganda that their parents pushed on them. Christian families produce Christian kids, Jewish families produce Jewish kids, and so on. Not many people break that mold. I just never felt any connection with Catholicism, or Christianity in general. I spent a lot of time in high school at my homeboy Arif’s crib, and he came from a Muslim family. I learned a lot there from his family and I got interested in Islam through them.”

Discography

Solo and Collaboration Albums

  • Season of the Assassin (2010)
  • God of the Serengeti (2012)
  • The Cornerstone of the Corner Store (TBA)
  • Heavy Metal Kings (2011) (with Ill Bill)
  • Black God White Devil (2014) (with Ill Bill)

Jedi Mind Tricks Albums

  • The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness (1997)
  • Violent by Design (2000)
  • Visions of Gandhi (2003)
  • Legacy of Blood (2004)
  • Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell (2006)
  • A History of Violence (2008)
  • Violence Begets Violence (2011)
  • The Thief and the Fallen (June 2 2015)

Army Of The Pharaohs

  • 2006: The Torture Papers
  • 2007: Ritual of Battle
  • 2010: The Unholy Terror
  • 2014: In Death Reborn
  • 2014: Heavy Lies the Crown

Mixtapes

  • Pazmanian Devil (2005)
  • The Sound and the Fury (2006)
  • Before the Assassin (2010)
  • Fires Of The Judas Blood (2010)
  • The Priest of Bloodshed (2012)
  • Digital Dynasty 23 (2013)
  • Flawless Victory (2014)

External Links

Website

Vinnie Paz on Twitter

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