Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Awkward Slang

On "Tragedy," you'll remember, RZA said: "I talk wit'/the awkward/slang/I walk wit'/the Wu Tang."

I wouldn't describe any of his slang as awkward. Strange to many listeners, and that's probably what he was getting at.

Even stranger: how do you develop a global fan base, sell 50 million records, and never surrender your cult status?

See this guy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Method Man, religiosity of a sort

Remember that line Meth had on the first RZA solo album? "Battle with Leviathan/The Methodist." Interesting for a couple reasons. One, he identifies himself with an evangelical tradition far removed from the rough neighborhoods in New York. When you think Methodist, you think Midwestern, lily white, and solidly middle-class. And when you think Leviathan in our current political climate, you think Tea Party windbag.

I doubt Johnny Blaze would put himself in either category if you asked him, but parsing lyrics can take you to strange places.

Friday, January 27, 2012

You and whose army

Blasted a little Killarmy last night on my way home from work. That song "Monster" could wake the dead.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Better Live

The entire crew has started showing up at concerts, and the performances have clearly been plotted out in advance.

That never used to happen. They've grown.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My New Favorite Satellite Member

Just stumbled across "Heist of the Century," an album LA The Darkman cut at the end of the last century, according to some guy's YouTube upload (he put the release date at '98).

Not sure how many people outside the five boroughs bought this record when it dropped, but everyone should give a listen. Guest appearances from Rae, Baby U, et al. Same mournful drug rip tales with the same precise sampling that constantly spilled out of RZA and his acolytes in the mid to late 90s.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snack time

More people should own "Digi Snacks." The two European bonus tracks are classic RZA, especially "Insomnia." The right distorted vocal loop, the staccato flow, and a haunting production value that feels ancient.

And somehow new.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


A lot of Wu members have said for years that they don't drink it. I'd believe Masta Killa hasn't touched it in at least a decade. Guy has a very low-key delivery on the tracks. Always enjoyed his stuff, but he's clearly pretty drowsy.

That said, what dude in his early thirties can't recite his verse on "Assassination Day" by heart, forwards and backwards?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What never came...

I remember reading in all the magazines back in high school that RZA and ODB had a team-up record in the works called "The Abbot and the Drunk Monk."

It was never released, and I think it should be. All the Wu members and their affilates constantly pay tribute to Osiris at concerts, during interviews, and in their album liner notes.

But releasing "Abbot" would be the most fitting tribute of all. With RZA behind it, the record can't possibly have failed in any substantial way. And I'm sure there are flashes of brilliance.

There always were with Dirty.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Remembering Black Shampoo

Everyone makes fun of this track, but it has a certain nostalgic appeal. For many adolescents in the late 90s, it was the first time we encountered any kind of heartfelt, escapist sentiment from an artist.

And that string loop -- is it bass? -- transports all of us. Truly.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wu tweets

Noticed that a lot of Wu members are following scantily clad women on Twitter. Makes you realize that even iconic rappers aren't immune to a mid-life crisis.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Free to mail it in

Wu members often recite written verses when asked to freestyle during radio station interviews. They'll dust off material from 36 Chambers or Forever, stuff we all grew up on, so I have a hard time believing they think no notices.

Maybe they figure freestyling is beneath them, which I'll go along with. Up-and-comers have to perform well in that setting to get noticed. But royalty? They don't need our attention.

They've had it for 17 years.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Backward Glance

The W has aged well. When it came out in 2000 (or was it '01) I thought it had a sloppy production value compared to Forever. And I also thought the MCs had less energy.

But as I approach decrepitude (my early 30s), I've come to realize that sometimes what sounds like a lethargic verse is really just a quiet lament. And as for rougher instrumentals, beats that frankly sound unfinished, old men don't dance anyway.

So I'm good with those too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Saw the Wu show at Lupo's the other night in Providence and came away satisfied. Six out of eight showed up, minus GZA and Raekwon. The Chef had tweeted that he was skipping the tour to work on his new album, so I expected that. And the Genius has distanced himself from the group for some time, so his absence didn't surprise me either.

Deck, RZA, and I think Ghost wore sunglasses; anyone who does that indoors without looking ridiculous clearly has a devoted following.

Fun night, heard all the standards, took in the eclectic crowd -- which demonstrates their broad appeal to disillusioned thugs and suburbanites of all ages.