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For the boxer, see Vinny Paz.
Also known as
Ikon the Verbal Hologram
October 5, 1977 (age 36)
Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
Hip Hop, underground hip hop,hardcore rap, political hip hop
Jedi Mind Tricks
Army of the Pharaohs
7L & Esoteric
Reef the Lost Cauze
Chris Rivers aka Baby Pun
R.A. the Rugged Man
Vincenzo Luvineri (born October 5, 1977), better known as Vinnie Paz (formerly known as Ikon the Verbal Hologram), is anItalian-Americanrapper and the lyricist behind the Philadelphiaunderground hip hop group Jedi Mind Tricks. He is also the frontman of the hip hop supergroupArmy of the Pharaohs.
Paz is known for his raw and gritty lyrical delivery. His lyrics frequently contain references to religion, war, politics, mythology, conspiracy theories, and the paranormal.
His more recent albums such as Servants in Heaven Kings in Hell show a more obvious approach to politics and world issues. This gritty style of Paz became apparent with the release of Violent by Design, and has become progressively more defined since its release. Vinnie Paz has a number of aliases, such as: Ikon the Verbal Hologram, Louie Doggs, Boxcutter Pazzy, Hologram, Paz, Vinnie P, The Pazmanian Devil, Ikon The Python, and Pazienza. Raised Catholic, Vinnie Paz is now a Muslim, which plays a major role in much of his lyrics, often controversially, as on Heavenly Divine, where he rapped "I'm with Allah'cause he chose me, I broke into the Vatican, strangled The Pope with his rosary."
Vinnie is also a heavy metal fan, and occasionally uses song titles and band names in JMT tracks and lyrics.He released his first solo album, Season of the Assassin.
This was 18 years after Paz had originally started rapping. Paz started occasionally writing articles for the website maxboxing.com in 2011.
He released his sophomore album God of the Serengeti in October 2012.
In 2013, Paz confirmed that he is working with Army of the Pharaohs to release In Death Reborn, which is due 2014.
October 22, 2013 marked the release date of his second EP; Carry On Tradition.
Paz was born in Sicily, Italy, where he lived for a short time before moving with his family to Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania. This Italian heritage can be seen in his love for Italian food. During the early 1990s, Paz realized he had a passion for music, and started rapping at the age of 16. Originally taking the pseudonym "Ikon the Verbal Hologram". Paz originally started rapping with fellow Jedi Mind Tricks member Stoupe in his basement.
In 1996, Vinnie Paz released the Amber Probe EP. This was the debut EP from the duo and it was released in 1996. It featured guest appearance from The Lost Children of Babylon. It was in 1997, Jedi Mind Tricks released their debut album; The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness (often abbreviated as The Psycho-Social CD. The group only consisted of Vinnie Paz, and Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind at this time and featured Apathy, Jus Allah, and Black Thought.
In 1998, Paz formed Army of the Pharaohs. Paz formed the horrorcore outfit with the original roster of Bahamadia, Chief Kamachi, Virtuoso, 7L & Esoteric, plus Jedi Mind Tricks' other members Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind and Jus Allah. The group first released the "Five Perfect Exertions" and "War Ensemble" 12" on Paz's short-lived Recordings in 1998, but then the underground supergroup remained silent for several years.
Together they released The Five Perfect Exertions.In 2000, Vinnie Paz, along with Jedi Mind Tricks, released his second album, Violent by Design.
Stoupe and Vinnie recruited Camden, New Jerseyrapper Jus Allah to join them on the album, and while he was never inducted into the group, it can be assumed he became JMT's third member on the release, as his contributions were not marked as "featuring Jus Allah", while other close group affiliates such as Army of the Pharaohs members Chief Kamachi, Esoteric and Virtuoso were marked as featured guests.
On the album, Ikon the Verbal Hologram changed his name to Vinnie Paz, after the Rhode Island boxer Vinny Pazienza.
In 2003, Jedi Mind Tricks released their third studio album, Visions of Gandhi. The album title was inspired by Foxy Brown's verse on the song "Affirmative Action" from Nas' 1996 album It Was Written, in which she raps "They praise Allah with visions of Gandhi". Vinnie Paz explained that it was "always something that stuck in my head but I never applied it to anything. Then I thought with everything going on in Palestine, the war with Iraq, Mumia's in jail. I just felt this is a time right now that the world and society need someone likeGandhi. So Visions of Gandhi just kind of reflects that."
In the following year they released Legacy of Blood.In 2005, Paz shifted his focus back on to the supergroup Army of the Pharaohs. They worked to release their debut album, The Torture Papers. It was released on March 21, 2006 on Babygrande Records.
After the release of this Paz went back to his group Jedi Mind Tricks and worked on fifth studio album, Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell. It was released September 19, 2006 through Babygrande Records.
In 2006, Vinnie Paz released his first solo album, The Sound & The Fury (mixtape). It featured guest appearance from Apathy & OuterSpace. It was hosted by DJ Kwestion and had 19 tracks.
Paz got together members of Army of the Pharaohs to release their second album, Ritual of Battle. It was released September 21, 2007 on Babygrande Records.
The album's first single was "Bloody Tears", featuring Planetary, Doap Nixon, Demoz, Vinnie Paz and was produced by DJ Kwestion. The song was based on the Castlevania tune of the same name. The music video was released in March 2011.
On November 11, 2008, Jed Mind Tricks released their sixth studio album, A History of Violence. The album sold 4,451 units in its first week out.
Just like most albums, it was released on Babygrande Records.
The album followed multiple summer releases from the Jedi Mind Tricks camp, including the group's first DVD, titled Divine Fire: The Story of Jedi Mind Tricks, and the Vinnie Paz-executive produced projects Jedi Mind Tricks presents Doap Nixon: Sour Diesel, Jedi Mind Tricks presents King Syze: The Labor Union, andJedi Mind Tricks presents OuterSpace: God's Fury.
In 2010, The Unholy Terror was released. It is the third studio album by Army of the Pharaohs. The release date was March 30, 2010, but the album was released early on March 19, 2010 on UGHH.com.
It was released through Babygrande Records and through Paz's own Enemy Soil.
It was during this time Paz released his debut solo album, Season of the Assassin. Many critics said the album was a step forward for Paz as an artist. "Not only has he all-but perfected his grimy braggadocio, but he also exhibits unique storytelling abilities that will make critics who dismiss him as just another hardcore rapper bite their tongues clean off." said Sean Ryon, writer of HipHopDX.
It was supposed to be called Assassin's Creed but Paz changed it due to legal issues with Ubisoft. The release date for the album was on June 22, 2010.
A few months later, Paz released the Prayer for the AssassinEP. The EP contained four remixed tracks from Season of the Assassin and a music video for the track Keep Movin' on.
It was only available for digital download and was released on 26 October 2010.
Music is different from any art form in the world, because it has the unique power to take you back to a specific moment in your life. It’s probably the closest thing we have to time travel, it allows you to re-live a memory or release the emotions surrounding that memory with unparalleled detail. You could be sitting in a restaurant, driving in your car and a particular song comes on and takes you to that exact time and place in your life like no book, movie or painting could ever do. I guess that’s part of the reason why I gravitated to becoming a musician; it’s what made me a fan of music and what made me wanna make music in the first place. I've had fans send me mail from all over the world telling me that my music had changed their lives, help them get off drugs, or helped them get through a death of a family member. You understand how important that is to me. That’s definitely the best compliment you could get as a musician. That’s why I make music. Everybody says this to the point where it’s a cliché but the money is secondary. I make music to move people, to inspire people. That’s what I was put here to do and that's what I'm gonna to continue to do.
– Paz, on his main focus of making music in promotion for God of the Serengeti.
In 2011, Jedi Mind Tricks released their seventh studio album Violence Begets Violence. It is the first JMT album without the production help of Stoupe The Enemy Of Mankind because Vinnie Paz and Jus Allah grew tired of waiting.
Paz stated; "By now you have heard that this is the first Jedi Mind Tricks album we've made without Stoupe handling the production. The bottom line is that at some point after making our last album, A History of Violence, Stoupe lost his passion for making Hip Hop and wanted to try new things. Through our career, we've always waited on him to get inspired to make a new album, but this time around we got tired of waiting out his creative drought. He tried to produce some things for this new album, but we could tell early on that his heart wasn't in making JMT records anymore. He's moved on as a producer to work in other genres with his side-projects, Dutch and Vespertina, and we've moved on with a new crop of talented producers to make the hardcore Hip Hop we’ve always been known for."Paz released his second studio album, God of the Serengeti, on October 22, 2012.
This effort followed up 2010's Season of the Assassin. Nick Demolina (writer of XXL (magazine)), said "While Paz’s raspy flow and violent imagery are generally coherent and amusing enough, there are a few head-scratchers sprinkled throughout. Such as, ”I don’t believe in crying at all/I’m a manic depressive—never get excited at all,” and, “The bible is gone/you are watching a Viking perform,” on “Cheesesteaks.” While God of the Serengeti doesn’t blaze any new ground, it is a release that will hold up to the Paz’s legacy on the underground scene and will surely satisfy long-time fans."
In 2013, it was announced that the Digital Dynasty would continue once more with another host from Philadelphia. Following from Digital Dynasty 22, which was hosted byFreeway, Digital Dynasty23 was hosted by Vinnie Paz.
It was released on January 31, 2013.The Army of the Pharoahs will reunite for their fourth LP called In Death Reborn.
On December 27, 2011, Vinnie Paz announced from his Facebook page, "Army of the Pharaohs - In Death Reborn - 2012". As of April 2013, the album has not been released.
Through the official Facebook Page of Army of the Pharaohs, it was posted "New album is not finished. Don't know when it will be finished. Will let you know when there's a release date. No need for further questions."
On 16 June 2013, Paz announced that he is working on a new solo EP titled Carry On Tradition. He tweeted: "My new solo EP is called "Carry On Tradition". I'll have artwork and the tracklisting for y'all soon. I appreciate the constant support."
The EP is coming out on October 29, 2013.
The first single from Carry on Tradition has been released which is titled "God Bless" with production from Mikey Bingo.
Possible collaboration albums are one with R.A. the Rugged Man
and one with Tragedy Khadafi.
On December 31, 2013 Paz tweeted: "upcoming music: 2 new AOTP LPs. new HMK. Vinnie Paz - Flawless Victory mixtape, and my next solo LP, "The Cornerstone of the Corner Store".
Main article: Jedi Mind Tricks
Paz formed Jedi Mind Tricks with high school friend Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind, a producer and DJ also from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1993. They released their first EP in 1996 called Amber Probe through the Label Superegular Records, which featured three original tracks, two remixes and one instrumental all produced by Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind.
Jedi Mind Tricks’ first official album came out the following year. It was called The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness, “The Psycho-Social” for short. The album originally sold 1000 vinyl copies through Superegular Records, but was re-released in 2003 to combine for 25,000 sales. The album focuses mostly on astronomy, history and physics.
Jedi Mind Tricks added two new members DJ Kwestion from Philadelphia in 1997, and Jus Allah from Camden, New Jersey in 1999. They went on to record seven studio albums with sales totaling over 250,000 in the US and 450,000 worldwide (only some including Jus Allah and DJ Kwestion). They also recorded fourteen EPs/singles.
The group has collaborated with many other mostly underground east coast rappers including GZA, Kool G Rap, 7L & Esoteric, Sean Price, Ras Kass, Canibus, Percee P, Killah Priest, Immortal Technique, Virtuoso, Louis Logic, R.A. the Rugged Man, Tragedy Khadafi, and Ill Bill.
After a falling out with Babygrande Records, the group created their own record label called Enemy Soil. They produce for artists such as Reef the Lost Cauze, Dutch, and Army of the Pharaohs. Jedi Mind Tricks released its most recent album titled Violence Begets Violence in 2011.
Main article: Army of the Pharaohs
Paz formed Army of the Pharaohs, an underground East Coast hip hop group featuring himself, Apathy, Celph Titled, Chief Kamachi, 7L & Esoteric, Planetary & Crypt the Warchild (OuterSpace), King Syze, Faez One, Jus Allah, Doap Nixon, Reef the Lost Cauze, Demoz, Block Mccloud, and Des Devious, although not every artist is on every track.
The original incarnation of the group included five MCs: Vinnie Paz, Chief Kamachi, Esoteric, Virtuoso and Bahamadia, along with Jedi Mind Tricks producer/DJ 7L (of 7L & Esotericfame). The group released their debut EP/single "The Five Perfect Exertions b/w War Ensemble" in 1998.
Both tracks were later included on JMT's 2000 album Violent by Design; with "The Five Perfect Exertions" being remixed into "Exertions Remix", and both "Exertions" and "War Ensemble" shedding Chief Kamachi's appearance. The Army of the Pharaohs project was put on the back-burner while JMT's career took off.
Vinnie released his debut solo album Season of the Assassin on June 21, 2010, which peaked at number 25 on the US Billboard rap charts. The album featured guest appearances from Paul Wall, Ill Bill, Clipse among others.
Vinnie was working on his sophomore solo album God of the Serengeti, which featured production from DJ Premier, Psycho Les, C-Lance, among others.
It was officially released on 22, October 2012.
On June 21, Paz released the first video from the album, for the single "Cheesesteaks".
The music video for "The Oracle" was released a month after the release of the album on 15, October 2012.
His third album will be The Cornerstone of the Corner Store. It is not yet known when the album will come out.
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Many people have criticized Paz for his use of homophobic lyrics in his music, but he claims that he is not homophobic and instead claims that these references are from his ignorant days on the streets, “I think the homophobia things is really just taken out of context from people in certain parts of the country or the world, with me, that was some (stuff) you said on the street. Like ‘Oh, dude is a (homosexual)’... it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with homosexuality. It was just some ignorant street (stuff), know what I mean?”
Paz is very outspoken about his distaste for former President George W. Bush. In an interview with Hip-Hop Linguistics, Paz stated “I think the logical move is for Hilary (Clinton) to run with Barack Obama as a running mate, I think them competing is sort of counterproductive.” He also went on to say “A monkey would be better than what we have now. When you have the worst president in the history of your country, there’s really nowhere to go but up” in reference to President Bush.
Later, however, in the song, "End of Days," Vinnie explained how he changed his views on Barack Obama and is now completely against him.
Vinnie was raised Roman Catholic, like many in southern Philadelphia. Although his family practiced Catholicism, Vinnie always felt disconnected from the religion. In high school, a good friend of his was Muslim, and whose home he frequented often. His friend's father soon began teaching Paz about the Qur'an, which became his first foray into the new religion. As an adult, he gradually converted to Islam, and remains a Muslim to this day. In an interview with Jason Goss, Paz stated; "Growing up yeah, I'm Italian and from Philly, so obviously my family is Roman Catholic. Religion and spirituality are a strange thing, ya know? Most people just grow up and accept the propaganda that their parents pushed on them. Christian families produce Christian kids, Jewish families produce Jewish kids, and so on. Not many people break that mold. I just never felt any connection with Catholicism, or Christianity in general. I spent a lot of time in high school at my homeboy Arif's crib, and he came from a Muslim family. I learned a lot there from his family and I got interested in Islam through them."
Jedi Mind Tricks and specifically Vinnie Paz are known for rapping about many different conspiracy theories. Most are chronicled in Paz’s song “End of Days” from his first solo album. The song features speech clips from famous conspiracy theorist David Icke. In this particular song, Paz raps about mostly conspiracy theories within the United States government. For instance he mentions that the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers was an inside job. He also introduces listeners to a place in California calledBohemian Grove, where world leaders and other influential men meet to discuss things that for the most part remain a mystery. Most of these conspiracy theories stem from the beliefs of a New World Order and the Illuminati.
In the 2007 Army of the Pharaohs album Ritual of Battle, Paz dissed West on his verse on the song "Bloody Tears", proclaiming "Kanye West, gay rapper, that's when lines are drawn".
In an interview with MVRemix in 2008, when questioned which celebrity he would fight with, Paz answered that Kanye West, or maybe Usher.
In Blaq Poet's 2011 album Blaq Poet Society, Paz dissed West again in his verse of the song "Bushmaster Music", this time saying "I heard you suck dick and walk around in skirts a lot/Listen to Kanye West, recite his verse a lot".
Paz once again dissed kanye on the Heavy Metal Kings track "Devils Rebels" where he states "Y’all on some Kanye faggot shit, all skeezers".http://rapgenius.com/Heavy-metal-kings-devils-rebels-lyrics