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Posts Tagged ‘wu tang clan

Review of Wu-Tang Forever (1997)

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Score – A-

For their second release, the Wu-Tang Clan knew that they had to do something big to live up to 36 Chambers. So for Wu-Tang Forever RZA produced almost 2 hours worth of cerebral head busting bangers in an expansive double disc for his clan to rap over. Unfortunately, the bar had just been set too high. Regardless, Wu-Tang Forever is still one of the hottest rap albums to come out of the 90s, or any time really.

Lyrically, Forever is much less focused than 36 Chambers. Most verses on this album are heavily laden with non-sequitors. It’s like they’re just trying to say a bunch of smart-sounding shit without worrying about whether or not it makes any sense. U-God and Cappadonna are especially guilty of this. Personally, I don’t mind at all – it sounds dope regardless.

RZA amazes the musical world once again with his unforeseen genius. The production here isn’t too much like 36 Chambers or Only Built 4 Cuban Linx; it’s more of a bass heavy classical string influenced style. It sounds great, and RZA keeps it up throughout the whole album.

In summary:

  • Wu-Tang Forever doesn’t have the same cult appeal as 36 Chambers, but it’s a great album in it’s own right.
  • The production is something else. You won’t hear beats like this on any other album.
  • The album is long, and at times the lyrics fall off a tiny bit – nothing too detrimental. The beats are superb throughout, however.

Written by danielperry99

January 20, 2011 at 5:49 am

Review of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)

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Only Built 4 Cuban Linx was Raekwon the Chef’s first solo release and the second Wu Tang Clan release. The album was produced in entirety by the Clan’s Abbot, RZA. Before OB4CL was released, it was unknown that RZA would go down in history as one of the greatest beat makers of all time. It was also unknown that Raekwon and Ghostface Killah would go down in history as two of the dopest mc’s of all time. Within a few weeks of OB4CL hitting shelves, these things became apparent.

Sure, Wu Tang’s debut album was highly acclaimed, but it was so different from anything else out there that nobody really knew how the Clan would fare in the future. On Raekwon’s debut solo album, RZA, as well as the rest of the Clan (especially Raekwon and Ghostface), proved that they were here to stay.

Like the preceding 36 Chambers, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is a concept album – Raekwon the Chef (aka Lou Diamonds) and his partner in crime Ghostface Killah (aka Tony Starks) were mafia bosses involved in drug trading and extortion. It’s a really loose concept, but it’s there. The album also features several other members of the Clan + one extra: Method Man (aka Johnny Blaze), RZA (aka Bobby Steels), GZA (aka Maximillion), Ol’ Dirty Bastard (aka Joe Bananas), Inspectah Deck (aka Rollie Fingers), U-God (aka Lucky Hands), Masta Killa (aka Noodles), Cappadonna (aka Cappachino), and special guest Nas (aka Nas Escobar). Yep, they all got silly mafia nick names for the album, and that’s about as far as the concept goes.

Most Clan members are only featured on one, or at most two songs. The only exception is Ghostface Killah who appears alongside Raekwon on damn near every single track. You won’t hear me complaining about it though. If you ask me, I’d say that Ghostface has the best verse on almost every song. The pairing of Raekwon and Ghostface is a perfect partnership. Raekwon consistently lays down his heavily slang laden stories (so much slang a white boy like me has trouble keeping up), while Ghostface plays along with his own stream-of-consciousness style of story telling rap. As stated before, each and every song on OB4CL is produced by RZA, a non conformist beat maker who, at the time, was using samples in ways that no other musician could think of. So while the album is credited officially to Raekwon, RZA and Ghostface deserve at least equal credit. These are the three key components to the album. There are some other appearances worth note though.

Nas’s verse on “Verbal Intercourse” opens the song with some… well, some verbal intercourse. That’s just the only way to describe it. Inspectah Deck’s verse begins “Guillotine Swords” with the classic line, “Poisonous paragraphs smash ya phonograph in half/It be the Inspectah Deck on the warpath,” and the rest of the verse follows in suit with more classic INS rhyming word play. RZA presents a rare standout verse on “Wu Gambinos.”

I can’t stress enough how good RZA’s production is on this album. You can tell how much his style had evolved since 36 Chambers. Back then he was relying primarily on kung fu film music samples. On OB4CL, RZA draws inspiration from all over the place. Really, I have no idea where he got most of the samples from, but every beat (and I mean EVERY beat) on this album is straight fiya. That’s right, I said that every beat on this album is FIYA, and I’m not even the type of person to refer to things as “fire.” Inasmuch, every beat is on point with the theme. By that I mean that if mafia bosses were to actually desire to chant rhythmically over beats, they would probably chant rhythmically over beats like the ones on OB4CL. By the time the album is over, you may actually believe that Lou Diamonds and Tony Starks are real gangsters.

Here’s the summary:

  • Only Built 4 Cuban Linx is the second Wu Tang Clan album and Raekwon’s first solo album.
  • RZA solidifies his standing as one of the best hip-hop producers of all time.
  • Raekwon and Ghostface Killah take turns rapping out stories with vivid imagery on most songs.
  • Much of the rest of the Clan make appearances on the album. Nas also makes a special guest appearance.

Written by danielperry99

January 17, 2011 at 2:17 pm