I remember picking up “All Fates Have Changed” in 2005 and enjoying it, thanks mostly to Agallah’s 80s-influenced electronic instrumentals. The album was hard as f***, but was also the turning point for Jus Allah’s style, before he went full horror-core and embodied the savage character he had created. “MMA” confirms Jus Allah is now Necro with worse beats and slightly better flow. Murder is a common theme throughout the album, but some of it is uncomfortable to listen to unless you’re a genuine serial killer who’s open to advice from a hardcore rapper. What made Jus Allah’s earlier work so brutally effective was how fantastical it all was – the hyper-violence was exaggerated to the point where it was often hilarious. From tongue-in-cheek to plain knife-in-cheek, it’s delivered straight-face with a ho-hum attitude. There are some moments of black humour, most notably “Danger” where Jus goes full Halloween over a sinister production from Architech.
This is where Jus Allah is at his best and why “Violent By Design” remains such a great record – it’s knowingly brutal but creatively so. “MMA” is ultimately too brief to be remembered as a significant Jus Allah record, but his low budget style here is very different to the Jedi Mind Tricks material. The production simply isn’t strong enough to warrant sitting through the relentless barbarity spilling forth from Jus’ mouth, which is a shame. When a good beat (such as “Therapy”) starts to click, the track is promptly faded out after two minutes. Of the ten tracks offered, only one breaks past the 3-minute mark lending the album an odd feeling that it was perhaps planned around having some features to fill the gaps, but it never happened. Given how he has had creative differences with Vinnie Paz and Stoupe in the past, and various feuds with underground emcees, the anti-social loner persona may be more real than you think, but it’s not really been to the benefit of his career which continues to feel like a vicious rhyme writer whose potential was never fully realised.