4 November, 2012@11:49 am
RZA’s directorial debut, The Man With The Iron Fists, may have left something to be desired, but filling that void is it’s soundtrack, which once again proves where his true strengths lie. Acting more as the executive producer of the project, RZA’s fingerprint is all over the soundtrack, not only producing four of the album’s tracks, but also supplying the film’s score, which accompanying producers Frank Dukes, BADBADNOTGOOD, and Fizzy Womack use to as source material, sampled for their own beats.
The album is set off perfectly with RZA’s Black Keys collaboration, “The Baddest Man Alive”, which finds them both trading Mohammed Ali-esque barbs, over the band’s brand of sleazy, bluesy guitar licks. This leads into the RZA helmed Kanye West collaboration, “White Dress”, which carries on the same, understated vibe as the opening track, leading a cohesive feel that stretches throughout the soundtrack as a whole.
But while these bigger stars help reel in the average listener to check out the soundtrack, the real meat of it is within the home-grown, Wu-Tang Clan posse cuts. “Black Out”, for instance, finds Fizzy Womack taking a piece of RZA’s score and turning it into a crew song that gets better with every verse, starring Ghostface and Pharoahe Monch, with an M.O.P. fueled hook. (A side note, “Black Out”, ironically is inspired by the classic track “I Forgot To Be Your Lover”, which is covered here perfectly by The Revelations and Tre Williams, yet it’s inclusion doesn’t sound redundant.) “Rivers Of Blood”, featuring the Wu-Tang Clan and Kool G. Rap makes listeners beg for another LP from the 36 Chambers, as does “Tick Tock”, which only features Raekwon from the Wu, but shows just how well RZA-by-way-of-Frank-Dukes production works with an ensemble cast (in this case, Pusha T, Danny Brown, and Joell Ortiz.) Even on “The Archer”, Killa Sin single-handly holds it down, suggesting years of unrealized solo potential are still yet to be explored.
Sprinkled with a few other cross-genre tracks like Francis Yip’s “Green Is The Mountain”, Mable John and Isaac Hayes’ “Your Good Thing Is About To End”, and the ridiculous Corrine Bailey Rae vehicle, “Chain”, these cuts help round out the soundtrack with kung fu master levels of balance. Despite a few minor weak entries from Wiz Khalifa (“I Go Hard”) and RZA himself (“Just Blowin’ In The Wind”), the cohesiveness of this soundtrack inspires multiple plays through, rarely requiring the skip button. The only real disappointment here is that some of the film score’s more agressive RZA tracks weren’t used as beats for the rhyme, but that can be corrected on the next Wu-Tang Clan LP.
While the film itself was a bit of a let down, if RZA’s future directorial endeavors produce soundtracks as good as this one – which is quite easily the best hip-hop film soundtrack since High School High, perhaps even Juice – we’ll gladly throw popcorn in our mouths in the theatre anytime he gets behind a camera.
Leave a Reply
- Raekwon Sets A Release Date For “F.I.L.A.” Album
- BUSH: A Snoop Odyssey Produced By Pharrell Williams [Preview]
- Drake – “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” Surprise Album on iTunes Now
- Action Bronson “Mr. Wonderful” Cover Art and Tracklist
- Juicy J “Blue Dream & Lean 2″ Mixtape Cover Art & Release Date Revealed
- MF Grimm “MF Love Songs” Cover Art + Tracklist
- Lord Hakim – “Brass Knucklez” (feat. Vast Aire & Phizz Ed)
- IAMSU! – “Hella Good” (feat. Tyga)
- DJ Kay Slay – “I Declare War” (feat. Styles P, Sheek Louch, Vado, Raekwon, & Rell)
- Maverick Sabre – “We Don’t Wanna Be” (feat. Joey Bada$$)
- Cannibal Ox – “Blade: Art of Ox” (feat. Artifacts & U-God; prod. Black Milk)
- Asher Roth – “Blow Your Head” (prod. Nottz)