The 90’s saw many cliques grow from the seeds RZA planted on 36 Chambers. As the first official signing to the Wu label, Sunz Of Man dropped an instant classic with their ’98 debut The Last Shall Be First, and put a young Killah Priest on every lyric-heads radar. With his sagacious bars on B.I.B.L.E. , Diary Of A Madman, and Return to the 36 Chambers, he established himself as an adept lyricist steeped in knowledge; but since his 1998 solo LP Heavy Mental, Priest’s output has received a mixed reaction. 2013 saw him reclaim the throne he built for himself fifteen years earlier, penning 41 heavy tracks that holistically address the state of the world past, present and future on The Psychic World Of Walter Reed.
A densely-packed journey through esoteric landscapes, the album is anchored by clean, modern boom bap production that allows Priest’s labyrinthine prose room to unfold. His thematically rich concepts traverse both the material and spiritual plane, drawing from knowledge that spans galaxies and dimensions to blend sacred geometry, 5% wisdom, ancient alien theory, eastern mysticism, political conspiracy and biblical prophecy into one cohesive flow littered with complex lines. Every new song is a gateway to information; the more self-explanatory verses on The Winged People bridge Sumerian and Olmec megaliths, while astrotheology and syncretism inform The Tower‘s deep sixteens; rhymed through a huge Anubis mask in tribute to the Kemetic keeper of the dead. Ein Sof is a kind of lyrical OBE as the words transcend space and time, writing from an anthropomorphic perspective that incarnates into various forms throughout the song’s short duration, while Visionz stands out for it’s historically perceptive wordplay, and Ciph Barker’s production shines on Peace God.
It’s as if Priest’s stories unfurl from omniscience, drawing inspiration from the universal mind to release mental jewels over gleaming beats; the epic sample source on Anakim Dreams gives his rhymes a dramatic edge, St Peter’s delicate vocal samples emerge from the mire to birth Lotus Flower ‘s occult lyrical offerings, while dynamic melodies elevate Fortune Teller‘s intricate mysticism, and Think Priest almost sounds like Nas at his most righteous. From the Malachi Z York Homage on the interstellar album art, to the astral travelling alluded to with the sample selection, The Psychic World Of Walter Reed is a challenging, but immersive experience. A strong return to traditional beats and spiritually-uplifting rhymes from one of Hip Hop’s most mindful architects.
Buy it digitally here.