Review Summary: Yo somethin in the street went, BANG BANG
Makin it hard for you to do your THANG THANG
Somethin in the street went, BANG BANG...
Its frightening in a way...The W
nails East Coast underground on the head so on point you'd think Wu invented the genre. The group successfully adjusts to a new decade fluidly with a far more subtle plan of attack. This change was hardly drastic however the Wu looms overhead on a higher plateau within The W.'s
adornments. The music is as rough and contrary to the mainstream as it has ever been, although from the first two tracks: 'Chamber Music' and 'Careful' it'll seem obvious this album packs a well-executed bridle to the typically unchecked style of Wu-Tang. The chilling nature of the group's work remains; eerie beats complemented by dauntless rhymes effectively create one of Wu-Tang's finest pieces of work.
I find The W
to be one of the most emotional albums released by Wu-Tang to date. While the rhyming is unmistakably Shaolin, Wu manages to attain a replay value usually reserved for pop records without resorting to fluffy hooks and catchy choruses; an impressive step up from an already influential style. The storytelling is more straightforward, yet the group's signature shock value is replaced with an almost blatantly sentimental attitude. That’s not to say the entire album is flooded with such rapping, as there are some enthusiastic tracks that could easily get you on the dance floor, namely 'Do You Really' which I find to be one of the best pieces on the album...highly reccommended:
Now creep with me, as I roll through the Stat
Little Meth got my back, little pinky fat-fat
Let me hit that (draws), contact, learn how to act
Before you bring that drama the end; I'll fade to black
Positive, I hate kids who tell me lies
Despise guys that wanna get high but never buy
Got 9 lives, 9 wives that dont listen
Bitchin' their biological clocks is tickin'
With articulate flows the lyrical efforts sound like instruments themselves on The W.
Method Man (the author of that particular verse), U-God, RZA, and Ghostface Killah shine with killer wordplay, and largely aid the gripping consistency of this album; despite any similarity it may share with past Wu-Tang works the groups newfound comprehensible technique is quite inviting. The guest spots are varied yet overall good choices. The likes of Busta Rhymes, Junior Reid, Snoop Dogg, and Nas - who bring only their finest worth ethic to the studio in their respective verses.
Porcelain floors with a dog named Ginger
Bottle cap niggas that rhyme, we the winners
Then slide thru your hood in hoods
Me, Cliff, Patrick, Gary Grice and my man C. Woods
Holdin up gorilla, two niggas got a hold that ***
One shot and ya mans on it
The floetry on W
is the Wu at their prime game; the lyrical style doesn’t suffer from simpler wording. The actual rapping gives the songs a big, epic feel – this is especially noticeable on ‘Careful’, the almost extra-terrestrial beat sounds as if nature had a soundtrack and you were creeping through a dank cave in the pitch black, and its accompanied by equally ghastly raps from U-God, Cappadonna, RZA, Masta Killa, and Inspectah Deck that bring that creepy beat to life. Directly after ‘Careful’ the album takes a soulful turn with ‘Hollow Bones’, with a Syl Johnson sample and some of the Wu’s most respected MC’s the song is a nonchalant anthem for a lonely drive down the highway at night. The song envelopes you with an early morning downtown strip mindset and tells a tale of a lighthearted take of a stick-up crime scene told relaxingly by the criminals themselves – a classic Wu subject made even better by an addictive sample and some awesome production. Another song that needs to be mentioned is the emotionally charged 'I Can't Go To Sleep':
What the *** is goin on? I can't go to sleep
Feds jumpin out they jeeps, I can't go to sleep
Babies with flies on the cheeks, it's hard to go to sleep
Ish bowled two sixes twice, I couldn't go to sleep
Aiyyo we deep in the stairs, we carry can guns
Featuring Isaac Hayes, this song is a must-listen. A story about the troubles in ones life and the obstacles they see others experiencing, which causes unwanted insomnia but also quite a tear-jerker of a rap ballad.
The reason this wondrous semi-masterpiece is not a 4.5 or 5 out of 5 is because the little filler thats even on the album is very damaging. Before Nas' verse started on 'Let My Niggas Live' I was just about to skip the track and come back later out of boredom; some of the verses don't exemplify Wu's unstoppable flow that shouldn't have dipped that much on only their third release. And while the beats are not bad,
the repetition of the loops (which seem to get shorter with each of Wu's albums) gets frustrating when the various rappers on a specific track fail to differentiate themselves from the previous rapper, and it starts to sound like one artist is rambling on and shifting the subject, when in reality you may have just listened to about four or five different rappers.
As a whole, The W
is an underrated album that with more exposure could have been as highly regarded as the Wu's initial release, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Yeah, you've all heard of it - and this album is just better. Sadly I doubt it will garner the monumental amount of recognition in the future that 'Chambers' is known for, but either way, The W
deserves your undivided attention for its entirety. Get a pair of noise canceling headphones, quite a fat blunt, and a quality lounge chair and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.