GZA, Pro Tools (Think Differently Music, 2008)
You guys know GZA. He's been in the news a lot lately for beefing with Soulja Boy (back before it was all trendy) and Fiddy Cent. He was also in the Wu-Tang Clan.
A brief instrumental intro, lest they start right in with the rappin'. I'm pretty sure I've heard this sampled before on a rap song. It's too bad no one rapped on it here.
Like some shit right off Wu-Tang Forever. RZA and Masta Killa both lend guest raps, but it's the RZA (note I didn't just misspell GZA) that fucking pwns this. I haven't heard the RZA this focused since... well, ever. Which is shocking, since I haven't liked anything he's done in years.
Holy crap this is good. Like, Liquid Swords good. No hyperbole. The chorus consists of GZA rapping the words of the alphabet. Which sounds like some dorky bullshit, and maybe it is, but wait until you hear it.
GZA trades a few verses with his son. As you might have guessed, there's no talk of supermanning that ho, or anything silly like that.
Finally, Black Milk does a track for someone from the Wu. The result is about as magical as you might expect. Shit, maybe even more so.
A story where GZA flips the names of various cars and other car-related terms (e.g. spark plugs) a la "Labels"
A darker, more straightforward story. Rock Marcy kicks the chorus and also a guest verse.
GZA mentions that he once saw a kid with a Wu-Tang logo tattooed on his face, but he doubts anyone will ever get the G-Unit logo tattooed on their face. No, really, he does.
The surprisingly kinda meh Fiddy dis record.
The production on this one kinda reminds me of that Peruvian cocaine record by Immortal Technique.
Whereas, the string-based production on this kinda reminds of something MF Doom might do, if he wasn't off somewhere being a psycho. Some gruff-voiced weed carrier guy does most of the rappin' on this. He's not half that bad, though I'm wondering why he's got damn near his own song on this.
PATH OF DESTRUCTION
If you notice, several songs on this are about kids who've gone down the wrong path. My grandpa used to always talk about how bad kids were getting. (This was back during the crack era.) I'm just saying.
Honestly, I'm not sure how I'd feel about rapping with my father, let alone rapping some weird shit like this. I suppose it could be worse. Ghostface's son raps about running trains with his father. And for all we know, he probably does.
Another brief interlude. No talking or anything. But there is that one kung fu film sample from one of those early Wu-Tang albums. I think Tical, but who knows these days.
LIFE IS A MOVIE
The best thing RZA has done in ages, maybe since the 1990s. It's got these crazy drums, and these Gary Numan-sounding synths, and then the chorus is by some guy who actually does sound like Gary Numan. Or shit, maybe it is Gary Numan, though the credits on my special critics version of this list some Chinese guy.
GZA rapping one of his old songs I forgot about, live. Then he kicks some raps acapulco, with no music.
COMMENTS: Shockingly good. The best GZA album since Liquid Swords, and it's not like I wasn't a fan of Beneath the Surface and Legend of the Liquid Sword and Grandmasters. I don't want to put too much of a point on it, but this could very well be the best Wu-Tang-related album since Supreme Clientele. I only hesitate to say that because hip-hop's been in such a slump for I don't know how long, and it could be that I've been so starved for good shit that I'm getting a little bit stannish here. I'm probably not though.
BEST TRACKS: "Alphabets" "7 Pounds" "Life Is a Movie"
BONUS VIDEO: 50 Cent Don't Got Motherfucking Lyrics