The debut of the Rebel INS’s solo LP is one of the most anticipated releases in the Wu-Tang Clan’s history. He’s been called the Wu’s most underrated emcee, even though his was the first voice heard when you played Enter the 36 Chambers for the first time. Deck’s powerful impact on mics was never really fronted on, just overlooked. As the years progressed, and people got their fixes of core members Meth, Rae, GZA, RZA, O.D.B., and Ghost, Inspectah Deck started to work his way into the hearts of fans. People couldn’t avoid the webslinger’s mic pressence and the anticipation began to build.
It’s here, and the verdict is….decent. It’s not that Deck has released a bad album, as he is not really slipping with continuing the Wu-Tang tradition. It’s all here, the kung fu flick samples, the pitch controlled female vocal saples, the razor sharp lyrics, the strict law of only Wu-fam guest appearences. The real problem here is that the album hasn’t really broken any new ground.
While the spreading of Wu-Knowledge is on point as usual, the problems with Deck’s release lie it it’s production. RZA seems to have become too large for his claws to stab the ASR 10 keys, and pretty much let’s Deck handle the beats for almost the whole album. Deck’s tracks still spell out Wu-Tang in 24 bars, with his distinct deep basslines, pianos, and usual grime, but for the most part are lethargic and sleepy, not living up to the standard of RZA, or even some of the better Wu-Elements producers.
Once again, don’t get me wrong, this album is not bad, it is just not as incredible as releases from the WTC when they were in their prime. The album’s best track, and certainly hypest is “9th Chamber”, featuring the Wu-Tang’s most overlooked affiliates, Royal Fam, La The Darkman, & Killah Sin, ripping shreds through it’s pounding bass and powerful drums, almost recreating the 36 Chambers sound with the next generation of Wu Gambinos. “Grand Prix” is a clunky, but still well executed posse cut, while “Friction” is another return to the 36 chambers. Tracks like “Elevation” and “Night Shift” both freak dope piano samples, but are so laid back that they don’t match the furious dart throwing of Deck. Unfortunately, the majority of the LP falls into this trap of production that doesn’t compliment the talent of Deck the emcee. Maybe when Bobby Digital lets RZA come back out, we can again start seeing Wu-solo albums as good as everything that was released before Wu-Tang Forever.
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