Vincenzo Luvineri (born October 5, 1977), better known as Vinnie Paz (formerly known as Ikon the Verbal Hologram), is an Italian American rapper and the lyricist behind the Philadelphia underground hip hop group Jedi Mind Tricks. He is also the frontman of the hip hop supergroup Army of the Pharaohs.
Vinnie Paz in 2014
|Birth name||Vincenzo Luvineri|
|Also known as||Ikon the Verbal Hologram, Pazmanian Devil, Louie Doggs, Boxcutter Pazzy, Pazmanian Damien, Odrama vin Laden, Pack Pistol Pazzy, Pazienza, Vinnie P, The Genocide General, Vincent Price, Broad Street Bully|
October 5, 1977 |
Agrigento, Sicily, Italy
|Genres||Hip Hop, underground hip hop, hardcore rap, political hip hop, Horrorcore, conscious hip hop|
|Labels||Superregular Records(Former), Babygrande Records(Former), Enemy Soil(CEO)|
|Associated acts||Jedi Mind Tricks
Army of the Pharaohs
Heavy Metal Kings
R.A. the Rugged Man
7L & Esoteric
Reef the Lost Cauze
Chris Rivers aka Baby Pun
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, Pack Pistol Pazzy, Hologram, Paz, Vinnie P, The Pazmanian Devil, Odrama Vin Laden, 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 second album God of the Serengeti in October 2012. In 2013, Paz confirmed that was working with Army of the Pharaohs to release In Death Reborn, which was released in 2014. October 22, 2013 marked the release date of his second EP; Carry On Tradition. His third solo LP The Cornerstone of the Corner Store was released on October 28, 2016.
Early Career (1992–1997)Edit
Paz was born in Sicily, Italy, where he lived for a short time before moving with his family to Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania. He has both Italian and American citizenship. During the early 1990s, Paz realized he had a passion for music, and started rapping at the age of 16. Originally taking the pseudonym "Ikonoklast". 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.
From Ikon to Vinnie, forming AOTP, Violent By Design (1998–2002)Edit
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 Jersey rapper 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.
Visions of Gandhi, Legacy of Blood and collaborations (2003–2006)Edit
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 like Gandhi. 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.
Ritual of Battle, A History of Violence, The Unholy Terror and Solo Career (2007–2010)Edit
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. 
On November 11, 2008, Jedi 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, and Jedi 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 Assassin EP. 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.
Violence Begets Violence and God of the Serengeti (2011–2012)Edit
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."
Digital Dynasty 23, Carry On Tradition, In Death Reborn, Heavy Lies the Crown and The Thief and the Fallen (2013–present)Edit
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 by Freeway, Digital Dynasty23 was hosted by Vinnie Paz. It was released on January 31, 2013.
The Army of the Pharaohs 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.
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".
In 2014, Stoupe returned to Jedi Mind Tricks while Jus Allah had left the group again. On June 2, 2015 they released their eight studio album called The Thief and the Fallen which was fully produced by Stoupe.
Jedi Mind TricksEdit
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.
Army of the PharaohsEdit
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 & Esoteric fame). 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.
Heavy Metal KingsEdit
Heavy Metal Kings is a group featuring veteran rappers Ill Bill and Vinnie Paz. In 2006, Ill Bill was featured on the single "Heavy Metal Kings" by hip hop duo Jedi Mind Tricks, released through Babygrande Records. The single was released in a limited edition blue vinyl pressing, with every copy signed by group vocalist Vinnie Paz. The duo came together after Ill Bill was featured on Jedi Mind Tricks single titled Heavy Metal Kings back in 2007. The pair released their self-titled debut collaboration album in 2011; Heavy Metal Kings. More releases including Black God White Devil in 2014 and Heavy Metal Kings vs. DJ Muggs.
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 second 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.
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Vinnie Paz also owns an independent record label; Enemy Soil.
In an interview with Hip-Hop Linguistics, Paz stated "I think the logical move is for Hillary (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 in southern Philadelphia. Although his family practiced Catholicism, Vinnie 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 was 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."
w/ Jedi Mind TricksEdit
- The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic Manipulation of Human Consciousness (1997)
- Violent by Design (2000)
- Visions of Gandhi (2003)
- Legacy of Blood (2004)
- Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell (2006)
- A History of Violence (2008)
- Violence Begets Violence (2011)
- The Thief and the Fallen (2015)
- The Bridge and the Abyss (2018)
w/ Army of the PharaohsEdit
- The Torture Papers (2006)
- Ritual of Battle (2007)
- The Unholy Terror (2010)
- In Death Reborn (2014)
- Heavy Lies The Crown (2014)
- Season of the Assassin (2010)
- God of the Serengeti (2012)
- The Cornerstone of the Corner Store (2016)
- TBA (2018)
- Pazmanian Devil (2005)
- The Sound and the Fury (2006)
- Before the Assassin (2010)
- Fires Of The Judas Blood (2010)
- The Priest of Bloodshed (2012)
- Digital Dynasty 23 (2013)
- Flawless Victory (2014)
Heavy Metal KingsEdit
- Heavy Metal Kings (2011)
- Black God White Devil (2017)
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