As you may guess from its title, The Psycho-social, Chemical, Biological, and Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness is not your average album. Honestly, it is pretty unique and I struggle to come up with a similar album. The closest comparison I can draw is GZA’s classic Liquid Swords. Jedi Mind Tricks’ The Psycho-social consists of mainly unconventional beats supplemented with often obscure samples. Production comes at the hands of the multi-talented Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind. His beats are rather minimalist. Most are repetitive, but enjoyably so. His songs are crafted with warbling strings, looped piano melodies, and eerie samples from a variety of sources. Just a few examples include dialogue from movies and TV shows such as “The X-files,” “Hellraiser,” “Lord of Illusions,” as well as songs by the likes of Kool Keith, The Pharcyde, and the Wu-Tang Clan.
Lyrically Vinnie Paz spits over the beats with rambling, paranoid lyrics which pair perfectly with the dark, brooding melodies producer Stoupe crafts. At the time, Vinnie called himself Ikon the Verbal Hologram. Most of his content deals with aliens, religion, and society. Some of the references are a bit complex, but if you can’t decipher them right away it doesn’t matter. You’ll understand the gist of the album. For help, check out Rapgenius.
The album opens with a short intro and then cuts to “The Winds of War” in which Stoupe combines samples from the film “Se7en” and a quivering violin piece. Vinnie makes the extraterrestrial, fringe elements of the record clear with lines like “Attacking like the seven warships of Nibiru.” Unless you’re familiar with Sumerian texts, you probably haven’t heard of Nibiru. But you can use context clues to figure out what is going on. “Chinese Water Torture” follows up with a mind-blowing beat combining steady drums with dripping sounds plucked from Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. Luckily the song is not intended to torture. On the contrary it sounds fantastic and ranks as one of my favorite songs off the album. “The Three Immortals” features an excellent “Hellraiser” sample, and “The Immaculate Conception” samples one of my favorite flicks, “Lord of Illusions.” True to the name, Vinnie drops some Star Wars references saying “Ikon dwell in the forest like Ewoks.” You gotta smile.
Over half of the 18 tracks feature guest spots. Some of them you may recognize such as underground heavyweight Apathy (listed as “Apathy the Alien Tounge”), future Jedi Mind Tricks member Jus Allah, and even an appearance by Black Thought of The Roots. Others you might not know, but rest assured they contribute nicely to each song throwing verses out for a seamless spit-fest. Despite fabulous guests, one of my favorite tracks is “I Who Have Nothing,” which features Ikon the Verbal Hologram by himself. Here Vinnie proves his skill and versatility on the mic with a very introspective, haunting song. He drops lines like “I who have nothing but the lack of variation/And I who have nothing but change and suffocation.” Make sure you’re in the right mood for this one. It is very poetic but rather eerie.
There really isn’t a bad song on the album. Considering how atmospheric it is I must recommend buying the whole thing. The Psycho-Social by Jedi Mind Tricks is an LP which demands a listen through in its entirety.