Friday, May 14, 2010

Paris - Acid Reflex (2xLP, 2008)

I am terrible at keeping up with when Paris is going to release an album. You've probably got a few artists like this in life. You love their music, but their output is so sporadic that you don't bother waiting for their next album to drop. You figure you'll find out when it's released one way or another, and it'll be a sweet surprise. So it goes with Paris for me.

I received both Unleashed and Sonic Jihad as Christmas gifts from my brother, and I had no idea either of them were out. Amazon has Unleashed's official release date as March 17, 1998. That means I went on with my life for nine months having no idea the thing was out. Sonic Jihad was released in October, so that one wasn't as bad. Still. I never know when the shit's hitting the stores. With Acid Reflex, I just came across it while shopping for other records. Everyday Music in Beaverton had it in a rack near a register, and I spotted it on my way out. A nice surprise.

You might remember that I named this record my third best album of 2008, and I still think that was a good call. Like Sonic Jihad, Acid Reflex is Paris doing what he does best. There's no major shift between the two records, though Paris does seem a bit more laid back here - he is getting older - and it finds him really favoring R&B hooks. There's nothing wrong with that, though on a song like "Get Fired Up," it sort of stops the furor of the track and calms things down a bit too much.

Still, it's tough to stop Paris from getting pissed once he gets rolling, and he's got plenty of anger to get out here. After the Bush-blasting he did on Sonic Jihad, it's nice to hear him go outside of that zone and take on other targets. I still think "The Hustle" is one of his best songs, an anti-religion tirade that is brilliant in its calculation and execution. With so many rappers giving the perfunctory props to god, it's fantastic to hear somebody really dissecting what that means. Yeah, it's heavy shit, but it's what Paris does best.

"Winter in America" features Chuck D (realizing that I said it was "Rebels without Applause" in my best-of post), and though it's not the most stomping track, it's a great cut. And that ends up being able to be said about a lot of these songs. Paris is a master beatmaker at this point, and while he used to just juice the bpm's and bowl you over, he's now just as comfortable laying back a bit and making sure you can understand all he's got to say. And I'm still with it.

"Don't Stop the Movement"

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