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Thursday, Aug 24 2006 | 18:19

Babygrande Records is proud to announce the September 19th release of Jedi Mind Tricks’ fifth album. “Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell” marks return of the indie hip-hop favorites with guest appearances by ILL Bill, Sean Price, R.A. The Rugged Man and more as well as pioneering indie rock collaborative efforts including Sufjan Stevens vocalist Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond. The album reflects another benchmark in the evolution of a group that has continuously pushed the boundaries of indie hip-hop. For the past ten years, Jedi Mind Tricks has been making uncompromising music without regard to an industry that often resembles an exclusively hit-hungry country club. Jedi’s renowned status as one of the most revered and reviled groups in independent music is a testament to their unwavering commitment to a unique aesthetic.

Jedi Mind Tricks is comprised of Philadelphia’s own Vinnie Paz (aka Ikon the Verbal Hologram) and the mysterious maestro Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind. The group has continuously cooked up a witch’s brew of sonic decadence comprised of Vinnie’s politically-charged firebrand lyricism, a dose of battle rap braggadocio, and Stoupe’s punishing production. While most rap producers are content to employ one, perhaps two, repetitious loops, Stoupe continues to redefine the role of rap producer by incorporating upwards of fifty tracks inclusive of samples, live instrumentation, and other such sound effects, effectively pushing the limits of his own signature style while further solidifying his deserved reputation as one of rap’s most celebrated composers since Wu-Tang Clan’s The RZA.

“Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell” also serves as a stepping stone in the lyrical maturation of frontman Vinnie Paz, as he strikes a balance between the ferocious battle raps that have become synonymous with Jedi Mind Tricks and much more introspective offerings in the form of tracks like “Razorblade Salvation,” a manifesto to struggling with suicidal thoughts. The track features Stoupe’s stunning reinterpretation of Sufjan Stevens’ “Dumb I Sound” and is hallmarked by a hauntingly beautiful vocal performance by indie rock’s Diamond Girl a/k/a Shara Worden, renowned back-up vocalist for Sufjan Stevens, as well as frontwoman of My Brightest Diamond. Early critics are drawing rave comparisons to Eminem’s “Stan.”

The lead single, “Heavy Metal Kings” (which has also been made into a dynamic Video), features Vinnie Paz’s brother-in-arms, ILL Bill of the now defunct Non-Phixion, and is currently available on iTunes.

Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell is Jedi Mind Tricks’ most mature and diverse offering of their ten year career. Their trademark mosh-pit anthems and battle raps coexist with some of the most intricate and poignant songwriting found in independent music, let alone indie hip-hop, today.

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