Wu-Tang trio returns with no-nonsense album
The glorious return of the Wu-Tang Clan comes as three of its most successful members team up on the recent release “Wu Massacre.”
Method Man, Ghostface Killah, and Raekwon the Chef collaborate on a hip-hop album that cuts right to the punch.
Compared to Raekwon’s critically acclaimed “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx … Pt. II,” a 75-minute 2009 album spread out over 22 tracks, “Wu Massacre” seems like a quarter of an album. At only 30 minutes in length, the collaboration makes an interesting point about the current state of hip-hop —it has come to use so much filler.
Where other rap albums have failed, “Wu Massacre” prevails in stripping away the fat, leaving a lean rap album that goes by surprisingly quickly.
With only 12 tracks and two 30-some-second skits, the album feels like a single scene of the type of narrative that made the three into the successful rappers they are today.
Kicking off with Raekwon’s B-side “Criminology 2.5,” “Wu Massacre” wastes no time in getting gangster, cut down to a mere two minutes.
Leading right into the first flexing of lyrical muscle, “Meth vs. Chef Part II” is the sort of classic Wu-Tang production that makes the listener nod and smirk in approval. The brass band in the background sounds like the soundtrack to a ’70s crime drama with swagger. Method Man and Raekwon break their rhyming after each verse with single lines of spoken dialogue, giving the feeling that the two are facing off just for the pleasure of facing off.
The skit “Ya Moms” is a furthering of the playful combat felt in the track before it. Unlike other hip-hop skits, it is a short 30 seconds, keeping it playful but not wasting time.
“Smooth Sailing” makes a recognizable transition into “Our Dreams,” the only track produced by legendary Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA. Sampling from Michael Jackson’s “We’re Almost There,” the song has a dreamy, peaceful sentiment. Method Man sounds like a weathered old man, reflecting on relationships past.
“Our Dreams” is not only the smoothest song on the album, it shows the true good work that RZA can bring to the table, in spite of creative differences the artists have had recently.
Following the airy track is the hectic “Gunshowers,” featuring Sun God and Inspectah Deck. Though it is a strong track, it doesn’t have the classic Wu-Tang feeling.
“Dangerous” is a perfect three-man machine passed from Raekwon to Ghostface to Method Man. The Wu-Tang anthem is a reminder that this trio is one composed of experts.
“Pimpin’ Chipp” is Ghostface Killah’s hip solo track. The theme of a hooker, Killah shows a rare nod of respect for the song’s protagonist, who is just as rarely a female character.
Next is a skit, “How to Pay Rent,” featuring comedian Tracy Morgan, which serves as an ironic, chauvinistic follow-up track to “Pimpin’ Chipp.”
“Miranda” is a saucy tune with bounce, but it marks the slow decline of the album which ends with “Youngstown Heist” and “It’s That Wu Sh-t,” two of the album’s weaker tracks.
Although many may label it a weaker effort by the Wu-Tang Clan, “Wu Massacre” shows that the Clan is still eager to have fun in the studio, and it shows they are ready to produce a no-nonsense album that gets back to what matters: the music that made the trio who they are today.
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