Cappadonna, the closest orbiting Wu-satellite member demoralizes the Wu legions by unleashing his second solo album The Yin & the Yang - a sophomore effort that somehow manages to outdo his debut in terms of sheer awfulness.
During the latter part of the 90′s, Wu-Tang Clan was facing an identity crisis of sorts. Cappa’s album dropped within weeks of Killah Priest’s and Killarmy’s first albums and while it managed to go Gold, the focus and anticipation normally associated with Wu-Tang releases began to slow down. While heavy hitting members of the crew, such as Method Man, continued to put out very successful albums, a second and even third tier of Wu-Tang releases came and went with varied success. Negative critics were silenced last year with Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele, but with The Yin & The Yang, Donna Cappa Goines successfully revives all the standard Wu-criticisms.
On this album, Cappa comes off with a stream of consciousness style that, while reminiscent of comrades Ghostface and Raekwon, doesn’t capture the visual genius so often displayed by his team. To put it bluntly, sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense, as proven on gems like “The Grits”: “My cup runneth over / Stressed out whenever I’m sober / This cold world got my girl scared / Fight on the sand / I’m allergic to ham / Weak minds all aboard / I see devils in the eyes of camcord / And my reward is to let y’all know / I’m going out like PLO / Whenever I go uhhh.” Huh?
Cappadonna does enlist a lot of help on the mic through fellow Wu-affiliates like Ghostface, Raekwon, Shyheim and Killa Priest, in addition to 8-Off and Neonek, who pull double duty on the mic and behind the boards. Some of these cameos work well – like Ghost on the hook of the lead single “Super Model”, or Raekwon riding lovely on the misogynistic club joint “Love Is The Message”. However on cuts like “We Know” produced by Jermaine Dupri, things come off ridiculously contrived, especially with Da Brat ‘s stutter-step verse wedged in between Cappadonna’s recital of the world’s longest hook.
The most glaring absence is of course the RZA, and while holding down an Executive Producer credit, he doesn’t produce or rhyme on any of the tracks. Sonically it’s still an interestingly diverse album with production by True Master, Goldfingaz, 8-Off, JD, Neoneck and even Inspectah Deck, but none can fill shoes of RZA. One can only wonder what this album would have sounded like with RZA framing the pictures Cappa was trying to paint.
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