Hopefully 2014 is going to be the Year of the Wu. We should be getting:
Wu-Tang Clan - A Better Tomorrow
Method Man - Crystal Meth (AND the Meth Lab mixtape)
GZA - Dark Matter
Inspectah Deck (+ 7L & Esoteric) - Czarface 2
Raekwon - Fly International Luxurious Art
ScHoolboy Q - Blind THreats (ft. Raekwon)
Next week on Tuesday ScHoolboy Q's 3rd album Oxymoron officially drops, and it leaked today if you haven’t already heard the news. I predicted that it would be better than his last album Habits & Contradictions, which I did an album review for. Today I’ve been listening to Oxymoron on repeat…and yes, it’s definitely an overall more cohesive and enjoyable album. It even boasts the nearly perfect knockout punch Yay Yay (my second favorite ScHoolboy Q song only to Sacrilegious). The biggest issue I have with Habits & Contradictions is that multiple subpar songs ended up being mixed into the track list, and Oxymoron fortunately avoids this problem by better maintaining a consistent quality throughout the entire album.
Blind THreats is one of the more noteworthy songs off of Oxymoron. When the track list was first released and I saw that Raekwon was featured I knew this would be a standout song. Q said in an interview that Blind THreats is his favorite track off the album. It’s a damn solid piece of work, but I was honestly still hoping for more. The choppy, vibraphone laced instrumental, produced by Lord Quest, has a lot of character and really makes this song stand out. ScHoolboy Q does the beat justice, but his verses of duality are ultimately outdone by Raekwon’s ruggedly smooth flow and clever lyricism. Not by much though. I also wish Raekwon helped out with the chorus in some way because it’s the weakest portion of the song in my opinion.
"Why the ones who commit the worst sins live the best? The 10 commandments, I can mark five checks. But I sense flaws, the Bible preaching blind threats. Streets held me down, got faith in a Pyrex. Faith in a four-five, I call it the clarinet."
My Song Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Q-Tip - Renaissance Rap (Remix) (ft. Busta Rhymes, Raekwon & Lil Wayne)
This is my favorite song off of Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip’s new collab mixtape The Abstract And The Dragon. A lot of people, including myself, were somewhat disappointed that the mixtape consisted largely of recycled songs. I was hoping for a full mixtape of new material that showed off the duo’s exceptional chemistry, such as with their recent knockout single Thank You, which is actually included on the mixtape, but with extra DJ yelling. That aside, it’s still easily one of the best free boom bap collections you’ll ever come across. You can enjoyably leave it on repeat for a very long time, given it’s such a smooth and cohesive selection. Renaissance Rap (Remix) is my favorite song off of the mixtape, even though it was originally released by Q-Tip back in the beginning of 2009. I only listened to when it first came out and haven’t since, so for me it’s an abnormally satisfying revisit. The original version of Renaissance Rap is one of my favorite songs off of Q-Tip’s highly acclaimed 2008 album The Renaissance. I’m still not sure why Lil Wayne was put on the remix though. His lyrics aren’t that good and don’t particularly mix with the old school vibe, "I don’t think you should stunt without a million. Dollars in the bank, I got money in the bank. Now throw yo’ hands in the air if yo’ pussy don’t stank". By his standards it’s still one of his better verses though.
I also really love the Marly Marl reference. True classic hip-hop.
My Song Rating: 9.3 out out of 10
"Blasted, it’s like cheeba when I splashed it. Real reefer heads’ll know the meaning of hitting glasses.”
Recent pic of Nas, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon.
Raekwon - A Rainy Day
I honestly haven’t paid much attention to the subtle drama between RZA and Raekwon due to Raekwon apparently holding up the release date of the new Wu-Tang album. As long as what they release is dope, I have no real qualms about its timing. Especially with Raekwon currently finishing up his sixth solo album Fly International Luxurious Art, which is set to be released sometime in January next year.
That being said, I fuckin’ love all new school Wu that’s up to par with the classics, and A Rainy Day unquestionably falls into this category. One of my favorite songs off of Raekwon’s classic 1995 debut album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… is Rainy Dayz, and the hook for A Rainy Day is a direct sample of Ghostface Killah's opening line from this golden era cut, “on rainy days I sit back and count ways”. It also maintains the same drippily drumming pitter-patter that serves as the gloomy instrumental’s backbone. This is laced with some incredibly potent bars cooked up by the Chef, which altogether forms a truly gratifying audio entrée. Expect to see this on F.I.L.A. whenever it officially drops.
"I did you wrong because I was fucked up, lost. They caught me in the Porsche store crying divorce."
My Song Rating: 9.2 out of 10
In a recent interview RZA explained that several Wu-Tang Clan members have been slacking on recording the new Wu album. He said that Ghostface Killah was only 20% interested in recording, while Raekwon has yet to record any of his verses, which is delaying the album release date. He claims there’s no beef though, just frustration.
Statik Selektah - Bird’s Eye View (ft. Raekwon, Joey Bada$$ & Black Thought)
The genius behind Bird’s Eye View lies mostly within its well crafted lyrics and their vividly raw delivery. Statik Selektah’s beat has many commendable qualities, but it unfortunately stays much more constant than it needs to. This song represents a significant event in 18-year-old Joey Bada$$’s career. Not only is he making his first official collab with Wu-Tang & The Roots, but he readily holds his own with one of his most potent verses ever. I actually like his verse slightly more than Raekwon’s, which speaks for itself. Overall though Black Thought steals the show. This song definitively proves Joey Bada$$ is only getting better and is here to stay. This is my favorite song off of Statik Selektah’s new album Extended Play.
"Watching the game from a bird’s eye view. They say it’s hard to keep trust so my third eye grew. Chakras open, binocular scoping, sour smoking. Hoping my best buzz ain’t only in it for the tokens."
My Song Rating: 9.6 out of 10
Ghostface Killah - Yolanda’s House (ft. Method Man & Raekwon)
This low-key Wu-Tang gem is off of Ghostface Killah’s solid 2007 album The Big Doe Rehab. My favorite Wu member is Method Man followed by Raekwon, so it’s hard for me not to love this song. The beautiful violin based instrumental works exceedingly well with each MC’s potent verse. When it comes to spittin’ raw stories of the street, no one does it better than Wu-Tang. Yolanda’s House is my all time favorite song by Ghostface Killah.
One of the main reasons why Wu-Tang is so well known and loved is because not only do they have their classic posse albums like Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), but all of the members have produced their own classic albums in their very successful solo careers. The Big Doe Rehab is Ghostface’s 7th studio album. It’s easy to see that the members of Wu-Tang Clan are some of the hardest working cats in the game. Such success doesn’t just happen.
My Song Rating: 9.8 out of 10
Mac Miller - Of The Soul (Remix) (ft. Posdnous & Raekwon)
I really liked the original version of Of The Soul, but it’s blatantly obvious that this remix is a hell of a lot better thanks to the Wu-Tang and De La Soul features (they absolutely kill it). Surprisingly Mac still holds his own amongst the two legends…mostly because the verse he spits is one of his all time best.
I feel Mac Miller’s biggest problem is his versatility, since a lot of his songs seem to just drone on with the same standard Mac Miller flow and subject matter, and adding solid variation to his music in any way inevitably improves his works. So when this variation comes in the form of two outstanding features, some truly great hip-hop is produced. He needs to start doing this much more often.
My Song Rating: 9.9 out of 10