For more than twenty-two years, the name Jedi Mind Tricks has become synonymous with raw, gritty, independent hip-hop. From their debut album, The Psycho-social, in 1996 to their seminal sophomore release, Violent By Design, to their musical expansion on Servants and Heaven, Kings in Hell, JMT has made an indelible impression on the independent music scene while arguably forging its own subgenre of rap. Led by the fiery vocals of controversial frontman, Vinnie Paz (who has also built an auspicious solo career over the last decade), and the enigmatic producer, Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind, the group has sustained a successful career as a result of its consistently, uncompromising rap music. On June 22nd, the duo drops their ninth studio album, The Bridge and The Abyss, featuring the singles/videos for “San La Muerte” and “Marciano’s Reign.” Speaking on the new album, Vinnie Paz, says, “Each time out we face a challenge of not wanting to make the same record, but at the same time doing what we do, which is make hard body rap. I try to balance my ignorant raps with songs that are a little more conceptual and personal. I think we found a nice balance on this album.” JMT’s success can’t be measured in chart positions or platinum plaque counts. Their success is most accurately measured in the passion and respect of their growing legions of hardcore fans who have packed JMT shows around the world from Boston to Bogota to Bucharest. Paz says, “When you see someone with a tattoo of your logo or your album art on their body, that’s a level of dedication that a sales chart can’t possibly capture. We’re blessed to have some of the most dedicated fans in music. We’ve always sort of been music industry pariahs and I think our fans like that we don’t cower to the politics of the business.” JMT’s music embodies the spirit of DIY defiance and their longevity is a testament to their blue-collar work ethic coursing through the bloodlines of their hometown of Philadelphia.
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