Title: Safe Space Invader Artist: Paris Label: Guerilla Funk Formats: CD, LP, Digital Release date: September 25, 2020
One of the most politically
charged rappers to emerge in the 1990s, Paris is perhaps best known for his
militant albums The Devil Made Me Do It and Sleeping with the Enemy.
The latter album, originally scheduled for release prior to the 1992 election
(but withheld by the label), featured the incendiary track “Bush
Killa,” aimed at the incumbent, President George H.W. Bush. Now, prior to
what may be the most contentious election in US history amidst a pandemic and
social unrest, the Bay Area rapper returns with Safe Space
Invader. Released on Paris’ own Guerilla Funk label, there is no one to hold him back and nothing is off
With his revolutionary Black Power lyrics and a fiery delivery, rapper Paris was a major player on the hip hop scene in the early part of the 1990s. Hailing from Oakland, California, he debuted in 1990 with the single “The Devil Made Me Do It” and album of the same name. His impact was felt immediately, as his video for the single was banned by MTV. His second album, Sleeping With the Enemy, was released to rave reviews on his own Scarface Records label after he was dropped from Tommy Boy. Paris retired from rap after his fourth album, Unleashed (1998), and became a stock broker. After accumulating enough wealth to produce his own records and have complete artistic control, he returned to rap with Sonic Jihad (2006). With Acid Reflex, Paris attempts to drop knowledge on a new crop of hip hop listeners.
“The Trap” is a down-tempo testament on the ills of Black America that includes a very well-placed vocal sample. On “Acid Reflex,” Paris offers his positions on some of the more polarizing issues in America over a fiery, but funky beat. Chuck D stops by to drop a hot verse on “Winter in America.” “The Hustle” is a stinging indictment of religious institutions. The true highlights of this album are Paris’s lyrics and flow, which are consistently strong.
The album’s production is not bad at all, it just gets a bit repetitive and stale at some points. Luckily, Paris’s performances are so good that you tend to overlook the beats. Acid Reflex is a very solid release and a breath of fresh air in this generally superficial hip hop landscape. Paris drops a lot of knowledge on Acid Reflex. The question is whether or not the hip hop community is ready for it.