Take two of the most respected and visceral MCs in the independent hip hop scene and put them together for one full album’s worth of brutal Hip Hop and what you’ve got is both an easy candidate for some kind of “album of the year” award and an exercise in the fundamental passion that makes Hip Hop a potent vehicle. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that led to the historic teaming of Vinnie Paz and Ill Bill for their highly anticipated endeavor: Heavy Metal Kings. For years fans have been clamoring for an album’s worth of material from these two lyrical beasts, and now it is finally here.
In two strikingly similar careers that seem to parallel each other at every turn, the charismatic rappers have forged bodies of work that are some of the most respected in hip hop. Bloody tracks, devastated mics and shattered perceptions have all been left in the wake of these two dynamic MCs, and it was just a matter of time before they got together on something larger in scope than a few featured verses. Bill and Paz are well known for a penchant for heavy beats and viciously rugged rhymes; both are known for their incendiary live performances, and the inevitable collision that ultimately led to the Heavy Metal Kings collaboration is a natural progression from their work together on such tracks as “The Wolf” (from JMT’s 2003 LP Visions of Gandhi), “A Bullet Never Lies” (from Bill’s 2008 LP The Hour of Reprisal) “Brick Wall” (from Paz’s 2010 solo release Season of the Assassin), “Kill Devil Hills” from Bill’s 2010 LP Kill Devil Hills) and, of course, the track that spawned the title “Heavy Metal Kings” from JMT’s 2006 LP Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell album.
Both MCs have followed similar, unrelenting paths to their current destinations; each having garnered heavy respect throughout the ‘90s as they made their bones during a prolific period of independent Hip Hop. They are like-minded rappers who eschewed the traditional routes of the industry matrix and, instead, took a fiercely independent attitude when it came to their craft: Bill with Uncle Howie Records and now Paz with his home-grown Enemy Soil Records. From the ‘90s into the new millennium, Ill Bill and Paz produced a string of underground classics with Paz’s memorable work as the long-time leader of Philadelphia’s Jedi Mind Tricks and Bill’s Brooklyn-bred powerhouse Non Phixion. Both groups were responsible for creating music that has since been described as classic: Non Phixion’s The Future is Now and JMT’s Violent By Design. Paz and Bill have also launched successful solo careers and have put in work with supergroups such as Paz’s battle-tested outfit Army of the Pharaohs, and Ill Bill’s collective of legendary MCs: La Coka Nostra.
Both are inspired by the music they grew up with. Paz and Bill draw on influences that are wide and varied. Not only are they scholars of the Hip Hop game, they are Metal aficionados as well, and also come from a deep background of underground music that spans many different eras and genres. All of those influences come into play in many aspects of Heavy Metal Kings; everything from artwork (created by long-time Voivod drummer Away, who also did the iconic Non Phixion logo, to arrangement to lyrical structure and imagery. Heavy Metal Kings also features a solid cast of supporting artists, with guest spots from Reef the Lost Cauze, Slaine, Crypt the Warchild, Q-Unique and Sabac Red. Production on Heavy Metal Kings is handled by DJ Muggs, ILL Bill, Shuko, Sicknature, C-Lance, Grand Finale, Jack Of All Trades, Junior Makhno, Vherbal, and DJ Premier protégé Gem Crates.
Like its name, Heavy Metal Kings displays all the slick, rhythmical timings of Hip Hop while incorporating the adrenaline and utter desecration of Metal. Heavy Metal Kings fully realizes the potential and the power of The Cult Leader and the Pazmanian Devil. Together their vision and sound are allowed the full breadth of expression and the sound result is a collection of music that lives up to its name with the kind of blood-curdling sonic bombast that is only found in genres like Heavy Metal and Hardcore.
ILL Bill and Vinnie Paz are “Heavy Metal Kings” new album in stores April 5, 2011.