Friday, 24 August 2007

Verse of the week – Killah Priest and Canibus, ‘Inner G’

"I kick arse for the Lord"

Thank God for Killah Priest: firstly, he made me thinking of posting the above video; secondly, if I’m going to keep this half-arsed feature running, his new album, The Offering, has enough quality verses to do the business for the next couple of months. Standouts include ‘Salvation’, in which Priest addresses troops in Iraq over a sample from Ennio Morricone’s Once Upon A Time In The West; ‘Gun For Gun’, where he and Nas trade verses pondering Malcolm X’s final thoughts; ‘Essential’, which provides a Wire-style overview of a city’s criminal underworld, the narrative running from the maternity ward to the cemetery in the course of a night; or the apocalyptic closing posse cut ‘Till Thee Angles Come’.

I’ve gone for the album’s centrepiece, ‘Inner G’, featuring the Four Horsemen, a supergroup of Priest, Canibus, Rass Kass and Kurupt. Kass’ verse is alright, if slightly flippant, while Kurupt sounds like he’s freestyling drunk, which is no way to follow Canibus. Having Priest and Canibus share the credit works for me: I bought both rapper’s debut albums in the late 90s, then stopped following them after they severed ties with their more famous patrons (the Wu in Priest’s case, Wyclef for Canibus), and started putting out low-budget albums with hideous cover-art. So I couldn’t say whether The Offering marks a return to form for KP, but it does mark a reunion of sorts with the Wu (he’s appeared live with them, and 4th Disciple provides a beat), and it's one of the best rap records I’ve heard all year.

Still with the ugly cover-art, mind you

The verses here are more battle-rap than is the norm for most of the album, but as it’s Priest and Canibus, you still get references to John Merrick, the first African Pope, a couple of hypothetical planets, and a US army tactical field manual. Enjoy.

[Verse 1: Killah Priest]

I hide my face like the elephant man
Follow you, reach out of long black sleeves with skeleton hands
Touch rappers, watch them rot, their skin falls off
Boils in the pavement or on the cold boardwalk
Laugh like the jungle while pissing on ‘em
Then I put all my hood weight on the next corner
The next victim
Look in his face with tears in my eyes that crystallize
And turn to stone before they fall from my dome
Like an avalanche
The way I spit sound like an African chant
Priest run through MCs like I’m travelling ants
Peep the form: it’s a Vatican Stance
The Pope Victor the First
The flow spit with the curse
The sicker the verse
The more bodies you stick in the dirt
Wait around I’ma pick you a hearse
I like the long black ones
Drive around while spinning on two wheels
Whatever you feel
It’s blue steel
On black days, silver clouds when the mac spray
Turn rappers into clay
My mind’s a museum filled with microphone exhibits
Of rhymes that I write look like pictures

John Donne up in this motherf***er

[Verse 3: Canibus]


The only MC on earth that did geo-physical research about the new rebirth,
The sun turned the earth to rotisserie dirt,
Listen ‘fore you start dissin me first, this'll be worse,
Twelve degree pole shift displace the ocean,
They send space probes in and come back broken,
Armageddon omen,
Planet X inbound they’re rapidly approaching,
None of us are chosen,
Field manual 20 dash 46 your life’s getting away, you better run for it,
Population reduction, mass destruction
The reset button is coming and some of us love it,
The return of Nibiru, we will prepare you,
Stay away from the media, they will scare you,
Rappers respect beef, tactics and technique,
I’ma show you how the best compete, let’s peep,
My verse on the mic is a surgical strike,
Of herb with the light with no personal life,
Live Saturday night, sacrifice, batter the mic,
Jab to the left, jab to the right.

Killah Priest (feat. Rass Kass, Canibus & Kurupt) – ‘Inner G’ (from The Offering)

More fun:

Iraq-themed fan video for ‘Salvation’

Buy The Offering
Buy For Whom The Beat Tolls

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