In Death Reborn is the first wave of attack Army of the Pharaohs cast on hip-hop this year, as they released this album in April and then Heavy Lies The Crown in October. I reviewed this album when it first came out, and it still remains one of the best albums of 2014. As I wrote earlier in the countdown, timing is everything, and while this is generally the same type of music as Heavy Lies The Crown, the first wave of attack after a four-year absence hit the hardest. Right from the beginning we get non-stop hard rhymes over hard beats, as Army of the Pharaohs reminds us why they’re one of the best rap groups of the new millennium.
After the high-energy intro “Curse of the Pharaohs”, Reef The Lost Cauze jokes at the beginning of the second track that there are too many group members to remember. He names all the core members of the group, and that’s really all you need to know, as the lesser-known members are mostly limited to just one verse each on the entire album. Vinnie Paz appears on all but one song, while Celph Titled, Apathy, Esoteric, Blacastan, and Planetary follow closely with the most appearances on the album. The balance is definitely lopsided in favour of the main crew (fortunately for me, all my favourites), but putting out two albums this year allowed the other members to get a decent amount of shine.
Overall, this was a great way for Army of the Pharaohs to reunite. In Death Reborn gives us high-energy mosh pit type of tracks, some boom-bap head-nodders, and some slower-paced tracks with an epic feel to them. With a four-year wait since their previous album, this one gave fans exactly what they wanted to hear. The guys sound extra motivated to compete with each other, as Vinnie Paz had one of the greatest verses of his career on the lead single “God Particle” and other members did the same throughout the album. This is an excellent album to work out to, as it’s filled with pump-up tracks with braggadocios, competitive rapping. As with Heavy Lies The Crown, Army of the Pharaohs may come off as one-dimensional by having the same old message, but they stick to what they do best and what their fans want to hear.
My Grade: A
Remember to check back here tomorrow to see which album came in at #3 on the countdown!