Meth, Ghost & Rae “Wu-Massacre” Review
Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: Album Reviews, Music.
In the world of hip hop Method Man, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon’s Wu-Massacre is an anomaly. As each year passes we’re left with more and more filler on records, augmented by bloated mixtapes packed with songs that fail to ever see a formal release. Even when considering each of these three Wu-Tang members’ most recent solo records—Method Man’s 4:21… The Day After (20 tracks, 60+ minutes), Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II (22 tracks, 70+ minutes) & Ghostface Killah’s Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City (14 tracks 55+ minutes)—each still had plenty of filler; with Ghost’s being mostly filler, actually. With such precedent set though, Wu-Massacre comes in at about half an hour in length with only 12 tracks (a pair of which are skits)… So yeah, it’s a bit of a change of pace.
The album immediately opens with the bang of “Criminology 2.5” and “Mef vs. Chef 2,” both of which are relentless in their turnstile revolution between the emcees. “Criminology,” originally written for Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, shows the album’s unique flair for brevity; the final version of the track being an edit that has it reduced down to a mere two minutes. And even after the Mathematics-produced “Mef vs. Chef 2” Wu-Massacre only consumes about four minutes total; but even at its compact length the record never sounds like it should be anything but what it is. The first wasted moment comes with the rehashed “Ya Moms” skit, though at 30-some seconds it’s hardly much to complain about.
Following Solomon Childs and Streetlife’s inclusion on “Smooth Sailing” the album flows directly into Wu-Massacre’s first single, the RZA-produced “Our Dreams.” Sampling Michael Jackson’s 1975 single “We’re Almost There,” “Dreams” rips through a verse by Ghost and Meth before Raekwon finishes out the track. Not only is it the smoothest song on the record—thanks Michael—but it’s also a reminder of how great RZA can be; hopefully we hear more songs like this on the next full-length Wu-album. From there Inspectah Deck and Sun God join in on the harder banging “Gunshowers,” the trio lay down the soulful “Dangerous,” and Ghostface does his solo thing on “Pimpin’ Chipp.”
Tracy Morgan joins in for another breezy skit that neither hits a seriously funny note nor gets in the way of the music; again, it’s just another minor disruption. The funky bounce of “Miranda” follows, and the album rounds things out with pair of Scram Jones-produced tracks: “Youngstown Heist” and “It’s That Wu Shit,” which intermittently bounces a “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”-sounding chorus.
While not every song (and certainly not the skits) on Wu-Massacre flow in motion with one another, the ability to produce nearly half an hour of solid material is something that very few can do; a fact that many try to cover up by pushing quantity over quality. Even if you’re only of the belief that half of the album’s tracks are actually worth a damn—I tend to think most are, though the last two definitely mark Massacre‘s low-point—that’s still eight solid songs by three of hip hop’s most revered emcees. Call it an album, call it an EP, call it whatever you will, but Wu-Massacre is something more emcees should consider aiming for next time they step into the studio.
[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]