Stoupe (of Jedi Mind Tricks) - The Decalouge

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The sounds are varied but subtle, the melody is emotional, and the drums are rich; that's Stoupe's signature to a tee. Though he writes that signature a bit differently throughout the album, Decalogue is a decent debut from an underground veteran.

Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind is a one-man orchestra. Since the late '90s, the Philadelphia producer has layered diverse instruments and samples on top of each other to define the evolving sound of Jedi Mind Tricks [click to read]. In fact, he built a career out of matching Jedi mainstay Vinnie Paz's chilling howl with dense beats. In Decalogue, his solo debut, Stoupe eases away from that legacy with beats that are less fussy and even less intense.

Decalogue mirrors the basic elements of Stoupe's track record; it's full of strings, vocal samples, and other sounds that add variations to each song. But Stoupe's trademark complexity is replaced with a more straight-forward approach for his 10-track debut. That doesn't help "Transition of Power," where hollow voices and violins do nothing to spark M.O.P., the most amped duo to ever touch a microphone. The group's frenzied performances are absent and unnatural, though Lil Fame is still a bit diesel as he blasts fake kingpins whose "persona is John Gotti without the body." Simplicity is more welcomed on "The Truth." Teaming Supastition's flow with whistling flutes and a somber guitar melody, "The Truth" is Hip Hop's answer to an Old Western showdown or a