August 16, 2021

Killah Priest "Next" Feature in Vibe (March, 1998)

Judging from the uncompromising sound of the Wu-Tang Clan associate's appropriately titled debut, Heavy Mental (Geffen), exorcising contemporary hip hop's demons is but one of the messages on Killah Priest's mind. Fans of his performance on the Clan's AIDS benefit track "America" (Elektra) or the Genius's stellar single "4th Chamber" (Geffen) will undoubtedly appreciate the evolution of Priest's gothic rap steez. Heavy Mental manifestos like "One Step," "Blessed Are Those," and "Atoms to Adam" find the 27-year-old Brooklynite cross-pollinating biblical references, apocalyptic warnings, and ghetto fairly tales atop soundscapes provided by skilled RZA production proteges 4th Disciple and True Master. "I just took it back to where it all began," says Priest (who is also a member of Wu spin-off quarter Sunz of Man) as he warms up in a Mexican food joint. "Hip hop goes further back than Sugarhill Gang. You had brothers breakin' it down all the way back in the Book of Psalms. All these lyrics that I'm dropping is for the mind and the soul." With Priest, soul power and mind power are one and the same. "Killah Priest is an intelligent young brotha with lyrical skills beyond imagination," says Priest's mentor, the GZA, who first encountered a young, church-going Priest on the streets of Brooklyn. "He's a rook on the chessboard of emceeing." There's no shamming this shaman. K. Priest is killing us softly--while blinding us with science. - Next (Vibe / March, 1998). HBD!