Masta Killa, Made in Brooklyn (Nature Sounds, 2006)
For whatever reason, Masta Killa never got around to dropping his own solo album back when it mattered. His 2004 debut No Said Date was nails though - arguably the best Wu-Tang solo album since forever. Since then he's apparently fathered some children and joined Peta, neither of which I generally recommend.
THEN AND NOW
New Rule: Rappers are no longer allowed to let their kids rap on their albums, especially on the first track. Also, I'd have to check on this, but I'm pretty sure making your kids carry your weed around would constitute child endangerment.
What should have been the album's intro. This kung fu-sounding sample may have already been used somewhere, but I couldn't place it, so I suppose it doesn't count.
Even more minimalist that most Masta Killa tracks. You wish there was more to it. The raps are fire though.
IT'S WHAT IT IS
You wonder why the the rest of the Wu has mostly ditched those snippets of audio from old kung fu films. That was, after all, their thing. Speaking of the Wu, Rae and Ghost drop hot verses on this.
NEHANDA AND CREAM
Somehow, Masta Killa arranged to have two broads from a skit on Dr. Dre's 2001 appear on this. Not that I imagine that they'd be busy or anything. Then Masta Killa kicks one of his patented lover man raps over another disturbingly familiar-sounding sample.
IRON GOD CHAMBER
This beat sounds like a chopped up version of the sample from "Old Man," as heard in the infamous Ghetto Big Mac video. Most of the rest of the Wu show up here and sound kinda old and tired.
PASS THE BONE REMIX
A remake of the the GZA's classic, vaguely homoerotic 1990 ode to smoking blunts. As far as I can tell, Masta Killa kicks the old verses verbatim, but the beat and the chorus are different. Weird.
OLDER GODS PART 2
And here's what I'm assuming is meant to be a sequel to the jam from disc one of Wu-Tang Forever, though it doesn't sound anything like it. And it sucks balls.
LET'S GET INTO SOMETHING
A ridonkulously overdone R&B number. The rap doesn't even kick in until over a minute into this.
A sort of thematic extension of Forever's "A Better Tomorrow." Featuring the GZA and one of the other better Wu bag handlers, but the beat didn't do a whole lot for me personally.
From what I understand, the album's lead single. It's not bad or anything, but there's nothing about it to me that screams single. Except, of course, the line where Masta Killa proclaims himself "sharp like a nigga on prom night.'
Not the sharpest use of a soul sample I've heard in a rap song. These weed carrier guys aren't very good either.
An ill-advised venture into... I don't know, some sort of awful music of Carribbean origin. People in New York might enjoy this.
COMMENTS: On the one hand, this is more of the same formula that worked so well on No Said Date. On the other hand, it's almost uniformly a bit worse than anything on that album. In particular, the production sounds kinda amateur-ish and half-finished throughout. Which is a shame, because Masta Killa remains a beast on the mic.
BEST TRACKS: "It's What It Is" "Iron God Chamber" "Ringing Bells"
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT AND DISCUSS: Has anyone else ever noticed that soda seems to taste better at Taco Bell than anywhere else? Seriously.