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Biggie’s Life After Death album changed the face of New York rap. The massive double disc collection rewrote all the rules of the city, mainly by outsourcing the production to different houses, expanding upon the sounds and styles associated with the rapper. Songs like “Notorious Thugs” (feat. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony), “Fuckin You Tonight” (feat. R. Kelly) and “The World Is Filled” (feat. Too Short) showed it was okay for a NYC rapper to market himself to different audiences. After all, he could easily win back the hardrocks with songs like “10 Crack Commandments” or “Kick In The Door”. After that, we began to see every major rapper (Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z) do the same, in a formulaic approach that usually counted on DJ Premier for any respective rapper’s one hardcore hip-hop album track. This truly was the blueprint of hip-hop for the last decade.

Prior to this though, you had the Wu-Tang Clan writing the rules on how to make a hip-hop album in New York City, with classic records that featured virtually all in house production. This was an era when rappers defined their own sound, rather than hiring the hottest producers to define it for them. Unfortunately, in the post-Life After Death era, New York City seemed to have lost it’s way, and local acts like the Wu-Tang Clan were forced to rethink their strategies on how to create albums. The end result was a bunch of albums that were more concerned with the moment, rather than the legacy.

The music industry’s recent implosion is catastrophic on many levels, but one way that it is positive is that it actually encourages artists to make art. Raekwon proved this recently with Only Built For Cuban Linx 2, an album he recorded with no intention of blowing up or crossing over, and ended up producing the strongest piece of work to come from the Wu-Tang Clan in years. Quick to cash in on it’s success, Def Jam reunited Raekwon, Ghostface, and Method Man for a group project, allowing the trio to create a rugged hip-hop album, untainted by mountain climbing, electric-guitar playing, A&R’s.

As expected, the final product satisfies on every level, in a neatly packaged 30 minute LP that shows off tight production and razor sharp rhymes. It begins with a pair of sequel records that – in a rare occurrence – actually live up to their predecessors. “Criminology 2.5″ is a tweeked version of the original track, as Ghost and Meth pay homage to Raekwon’s original, while the rematch “Meth Vs. Chef 2″ completely outdoes the original with a dramatic track that ends in momma jokes.

The brief guest appearances on the record help round things like any Wu-Tang LP, keeping things interesting. The pimped out “Smooth Sailing” features a blistering verse from Street Life, while Solomon Childs delivers a hook more raw than anything Gucci Mane could muster. Later, the Scram Jones produced “Youngstown Hiest” is a well planned caper flick, directed by Ghostface Killah, Sheek Louch, and Trife Da God.

The production here is classic Wu-Tang, even if little handled by RZA. “Miranda” for instance is a hypnotic Mathematics banger, while “Dangerous” employs what sounds like an Ol’ Dirty vocal sample as the trio slides comfortably into their element. But the crown jewel is the lead single “Our Dreams”, where RZA outshines them all by samurai chopping a Michael Jackson sample into raw Shaolin goodness. That non-album Alicia Keys Ant Acid remix version also knocks.

Yes, this is a bit of a rush job, but you wouldn’t know it, as we haven’t seen consistancy from the Wu like this in years. The missing element of symbolic kung fu flim samples throughout the album may have tied it all together a little better than say, a Tracy Morgan skit, but in a package this tight, there isn’t a track worth skipping. While heads may complain about the album’s brief playtime, we’ll take an incredible 30 minute listen over a lackluster 74 minute snoozer anytime. Prepare yourselves, a second Wu-Tang dynasty may be upon us.

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0 Responses to "Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon – "Wu-Massacre" – @@@@1/2 (Review)"
  • Mike says:

    Lots of filler, a little killer – this is such a disappointment following OB4CL2, (which I’m still spinning on the regs, btw.) Even the good tracks don’t stand up to the weakest tracks on OB4CL2 – they’re just lesser than the sum of their parts here and it’s frustrating because I was so excited to hear some more of the Wu renaissance. Let’s hope Rza and Gza do Liquid Swords 2 or something. Or how about an INS / Masta Killa / U-God collab? I bet those cats would rise to the occasion. At least Masta Killa and INS would, anyway.

  • andrew says:

    I guess I’m part of the minority. Every song on this album bangs hard to me. It’s That Wu Shit is the weakest song in the album in my opinion but its still worth listening to. My biggest issue is that its too short. For a Rae, ghost, method man album, the 3 of them are not in many songs together. Still a banger though, one the few albums I can listen to over and over without skipping a track (besides the skits)

  • LDL says:

    pressed play and only ejected when it was over….satisfaction!!! Great album!!!

  • D-Bo says:

    This album is pure fire. I don’t understand the hate when there is so much wack “hip hop” music out there now. Not saying that my expectations were lower because of the state of the hip hop industry right now, but this album is great even released 10 years ago. Point in case… Drake, this dude shouldn’t even be considered hip hop. He’s a Pop singer. List that $hit with Kanye West and Beyonce in the R&B section… Wu forever. They have kept it hard from day 1. None of this corny singing/club $hit.

  • kancer says:

    I’m really sick and fucking tired of people hating on this, just like I heard people sayin’ Built For Cuban Linx 2 was a rehash, blah blah. Just enjoy the fact we got to hear Meth, Ghost and Rae. What the fuck do people expect, time to in reverse back to 94 or 95? Shit won’t be as good as it used to be, but just be happy that there is quality shit (NOT MATTER HOW FUCKING SHORT) that they are putting out. If you don’t dig this then go listen to fucking Lil Wayne or some commercial garbage and quit hating on the greats who are still packing it in after a decade plus. God damn people complain too much these days..

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