Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #79 Paris - Sonic Jihad
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#79 Paris - Sonic Jihad
Paris' Sonic Jihad dropped harder than any album since Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation Of Millions, an album that Paris actually produced and penned material for. Sonic Jihad took a similar confrontational scalpel to the hypocrisy, racism, extreme right wing posturing of the American experience during the early '00s. It was the album that we were all waiting for - water in the desert.
Mainstream hip hop had been turned into a joke by the early 90s, a subtly racist fiasco engineered by record execs trying to tap the stereotypes of suburban, white youth. It was also a time of: "if you're not with us, you're with the terrorists." Most performers cowed and shut their mouths, implicitly giving legitimacy to the administration's numerous disastrous adventures. Not Paris. Even the album's name, Sonic Jihad - a commercial risk, to say the least - was also a risk to an artist's personal safety - as the eventual death threats against the more politically tempered Dixie Chicks would make clear.
Others would take the cue as Paris made way - both inside the hip hop community and in the independent scenes - for more artists to stand up and speak the truth.
The album is also great hip hop musically. Paris, who has been recording controversial material since the early 90s, has relentless style that brought back the intensity of second generation greats like N.W.A., Kam, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Public Enemy (many of whom he's worked with over the years - Public Enemy is featured on Sonic.)