METAL MANIA “Look at the merch,” says Ill Bill (left, with Vinnie Paz). “There are metal bands that aren’t as metal as our shit.”
Rap fans have been praying to Beelzebub since 2006 for Ill Bill and Vinnie Paz to tag-team a whole album after what they did on "Heavy Metal Kings" off the latter's Jedi Mind Tricks opus, Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell. Like the legendary Prodigy verse off "Hell on Earth" that inspired the song's title, the collaboration was an instant classic, and one of the toughest gems these two roughneck rap icons have ever yielded.
So Heavy Metal Kings may be the most inevitable duo in rap history. Brooklyn MC Bill has been smashing melons over thick bass lines and gorescapes for 15 years now, first as the ringleader of the incendiary New York crew Non-Phixion, then as a solo artist and member of La Coka Nostra. Two hours south in Philadelphia, Vinnie's been doing the same, sketching hardcore rap blueprints with Jedi Mind Tricks and his all-star expansion team, Army of the Pharaohs. It was only a matter of rhyme before their forces merged to run the underground.
"There might be a small percentage of Vin's fans who didn't know much about me and vice versa," says Bill, "but not really for the most part." Adds Paz: "This whole thing is just a natural extension of the stuff we've done. It's not like we're out here on tour suddenly picking up Justin Bieber fans."
The homonymous Heavy Metal Kings debut has been several years in the making — not just recording-wise, but in terms of Bill and Paz breaking bread and necks on tour. Jedi Minds Tricks and Non-Phixion realized their combined value years ago, and the two have been billed together several times over the past decade. On the road, Bill and Vinnie — both anomalous rappers who drop numerous references to bands like Slayer and Sepultura — realized early on that they shared a passion for metal, and for the ephemera and attitude that define the darkest depths of rock and roll. The only time a Source magazine makes it on their tour bus is as toilet paper — these guys read Revolver.
"You never know how you'll click, because some people are just dickheads," says Paz, "but this was second nature — we didn't have to force anything." Bill chimes in: "Me and Vin both listen to a lot of metal, but nothing new, really. All the old-school shit is a huge influence. Look at the merch — there are metal bands that aren't as metal as our shit. As for the tracks, we used some heavy guitars a little bit, but honestly, for me it's cheesy to OD on that kind of stuff. A track has to move me — it can't just have a guitar on it."
Having already torn up Las Vegas and the Paid Dues festival in California, Bill and Vinnie now head back east, to the coast where their hip-hop horror show originated. And though their fan bases were virtually one and the same already, for diehards, the thought of these two converging over twisted metal is something like a sick Satanic fantasy wrapped in a super sloppy blowjob.