The Wu Twenty: Part II


23 fév. 2012, 9h14m

15. Shadowboxin.’ GZA. Liquid Swords. 1996.
Featuring: Method Man, the GZA

The GZA and the Meth. The most introverted, cerebral member of the Clan spending three-minutes in the lab with the most extroverted, listener-friendly member of the Wu-Tang crew. At their disposal: an unstoppable piece of Eastern Martial Arts-infused funk courtesy of the RZA. The product: the most-accessible three-minutes on Liquid Swords, during which not a voice is raised, not a chorus spake. It’s just unbelievable, really, the way Meth and GZA own this track and elevate themselves over all other pretender emcees by way of low-key menace (Meth: “Nightmares like Wes Craven/Niggas’ gunnin’/My third-eye seen it comin’; GZA: “I slayed emcees back in the rec room era/my style broke motherfuckin’ backs like Ken Patera") and verbal drive-bys unleashed via cerebral semi-autos (GZA: “Check these non-visual niggas with tapes and a portrait/flood the seminar/tryin’ to orbit/this corporate industry/but what niggas can’t see/you must break through/like the Wu/unexpectedly;” Meth: “Out of whack/nigga that/don’t understand the fact/when it come to RZA track/son don’t know how to act/real rap from the Stat/Killah Hill projects/how to be exact?/Break it down/All in together now/Things are lookin’ good getting better now.”). Astonishing.

14. Bring Da Ruckus. Wu-Tang Clan. Enter the Wu-Tang. 1993.
Featuring: the RZA, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Inspecktah Deck, the GZA

The Introduction. Kung-Fu samples and gutter-crunch drums?? BRING DA MOTHERFUCKING RUCKUS. Ghostface’s unhinged opening salvo?? BRING DA MOTHERFUCKING RUCKUS. Raekwon’s pronouncement that the Wu will be “going gold no doubt!” with this left-field shit?? BRING DA MOTHERFUCKING RUCKUS. The Rebel INS killing it over a beat drop?? BRING DA MOTHERFUCKING RUCKUS. “Kick it like Segal out for justice!”?? BRING DA MOTHERFUCKING RUCKUS. The GZA arriving to the scene like some dark, ghetto mutant with a thirst for blood and an IQ of 200?? BRING DA MOTHERFUCKING RUCKUS. This track changed the game in so many ways, yet its uncompromising, undeniably validated audacity remains its most enduring legacy.

13. 10 Bricks. Raekwon. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II. 2009.
Featuring: Raekwon, Cappadonna, Ghostface Killah

The Ghostface solo albums aside, the 00’s saw the rest of the Wu remaining in the shadows as Jay-Z, Kanye, and the Dirty South proceeded to dominate much of the decade. Yet, following the release of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Part II at the conclusion of the decade, the question had to be asked---where the fuck had the rest of these guys been?? “10 Bricks” destroys with a classic, RZA-inspired beat courtesy of the late J. Dilla, over which Rae and Ghost get on some funky shit like it’s 1995 all over again. Proof that the duo has not lost its storytelling touch, Rae and Ghost, along with Cappadonna, offer some classic tales of “Miami Vice” style forays amidst the usual braggadocio. “She threw the rifle in her mouth and said good evening.” Rae muses at one point. “This aint For the Love of Ray-J! It’s for the love of the AK!” Ghost hollers. “We the last skippers.” Raekwon affirms on the chorus. No doubt.

12. Triumph. Wu-Tang Clan. Wu-Tang Forever. 1997.
Featuring: Ol' Dirty Bastard, Inspecktah Deck, Method Man, Cappadonna, U-God, the RZA, the GZA, Masta Killa, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon

The first single off the Wu-Tang’s highly anticipated follow-up to Enter the Wu-Tang, “Triumph” makes it easy to see the group’s rationale for designating it to take lead-off status for the group’s second album. The Inspectah Deck’s notorious opening verse amazed the GZA to the point of pushing the latter emcee to declare it an impossible act to follow. GZA's reward: placement of his verse subsequent to a premiere verse from the RZA, a blast of verbal chaos that both celebrates and signifies the indomitable nature of the Wu's lyrical prowess. One of the last Wu posse tracks to feature verses from more or less all of the group’s essential characters (fittingly, O.D.B.’s charisma-laden interjections during the song’s rhyme-free interludes prove as captivating as any single verse), “Triumph” remains a statement for the ages. A declaration of the group’s personal recognition that the Wu were responsible for molding the landscape of 90’s hip-hop and beyond.

11. Guillotine (Swordz). Raekwon. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. 1995.
Featuring: Inspecktah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, the GZA

All involved parties bring it so raw on this track. Notable for featuring the cream of the Wu-Tang, INS, Ghost, Rae, and the GZA on the verses and one of the RZA’s most devastating beats, this cut was one of the tracks off Only Built 4 Cuban Linx that signified how serious the group was in its pursuit of dominance over the world of hip-hop. The Inspecktah Deck absolutely annihilates his first verse, the filthiness of which is unequaled on any Wu-contributed verse to Cuban Linx I. Ghostface, for his part, unleashes a verse that overflows with charisma and intellect in a way that overwhelms the listener, whether he is on the first or fiftieth listen. Rae and the Genius refuse to let up, and listeners are forced to reckon with one of the most understated and yet relentlessly confrontational tracks in the Wu-Tang catalog.

Wu-Tang Clan


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