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Heavy Lies The Crown is the most recent of two albums Army of the Pharaohs released in 2014, and sixth album overall. Since the last time I wrote about them, the roster has mostly remained the same, except King Magnetic is absent on this album. There is also a high focus on the core members of the group, with Vinnie Paz and Celph Titled having the most appearances on the album, followed closely by Esoteric, Apathy, and Crypt The Warchild. The overall feel of the album is similar to the rest of their albums: hard-hitting beats, competitive rapping, and having a warrior’s mindstate.
It’s not long after you press play that they get right into the rapping, as the leader Vinnie Paz sets things off just like their previous album. From the first few songs you’ll notice Crypt The Warchild having more prominence than the last album; it’s great to see he’s still sounding strong even during his battle with cancer. Otherwise, this album is business as usual. Punchlines, wordplay, and elite lyricism are on full display as the Army competes with each other while showing other rap crews they’re better at rapping. While this is AOTP’s biggest strength, it’s also their biggest weakness, as we’re getting the same old message but with different rhymes. For example, “The Tempter And The Bible Black” even sounds like a remix of “God Particle” from the previous album, with the same members rapping in the same order, at the same pace.
The production is strong on this album, as it generally has more head-nodders compared to some of AOTP’s other albums. Even though the constant “I rap better than you” message in their songs gets repetitive, you cannot deny the amount of skill and talent this group shows. This is my favourite type of rap to listen to, and I don’t think I can get enough of it when it’s done right. Rhymes like “strangulation by dental floss/ I make the toughest men feel menopause” (Celph Titled) crack me up everytime, and each member of AOTP has their own way of getting similar reactions out of you. Vinnie, Apathy, Esoteric, and Celph Titled all did their thing as usual; it was good to see more appearances from Crypt The Warchild, Reef The Lost Cauze and King Syze, and Zilla proved to be a nice new addition to the roster. Overall, Heavy Lies The Crown is another addition to a great discography.
My Grade: A-
My Joint (not my favourite joint, but I love the music video):
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