"Psycho Killah, Norman Banks". I understand that quoting an old Ol' Dirty line might will do one of two things:
1. Makes me seem like a Wu stan who actually keeps up with the 9 members, and ever-growing legions of weed carriers.
2. Makes me seem like a dumbass who has no fucking clue what he's talking about.
After this intro, I'm guessing readers will gravitate towards the second option. Like most people, I discovered terrible mainstream rap before I found boom-bap heaven. In the context of this review that means that I know criminally little about the Wu. In fact I had no clue Masta Killa was a member until I did a little research for this post. But luckily I have kept up with Ghostface. There's 3 Wu albums everyone has heard: Liquid Swords, Supreme Clientele, and Only Built For Cuban Linx. Supreme Clientele stood out most to me, and as a result I have went through most of Ghost's discography. What does that mean for this review? Well...
1. The Return of Clyde Smith
It's just an intro. Sorry..
2. Shakey Dog
The instrumental is easily identifiable, considering that this beat has been sampled 100's of times. The "Oh Yeah" vocal sample also appears on Pharell's Rockstar (which is a sad piece of trivia I have held onto). And the storytelling is the stuff of legends.
"I'm getting ready to fuck Catwoman or something", what more needs to be said? My only complaint with this song is the instrumental. It's not engaging at all. Good job MoSS. Oh the vocal is kind of lame too. Especially when Rae and Ghost ad-lib it.
4. The Champ
I feel like I should hate this song out of principle. RZA doesn't produce at all on this album. Yet you have Just Blaze pimpin the Roc at the beginning. Regardless, Justin Blaze does a great job on the instrumental and Ghostface kills it (Get it? Get it? Get it?).
5. Major Operation
I've always wished I could say something funny or even something halfway enlightening about skits. But like always I have nothing to say.
6. 9 Milli Bros
If you couldn't tell by the title all 9 members of the Wu get on this track, along with Cappadonna for safe measure. This shit is ill beyond belief. Produced by MF Doom for anyone whose a non-believer.
7. Beauty Jackson
Ghostface's singing has always brought tears of laughter to my eyes. I wasn't really feeling this song, but it's relatively short so I can't complain. This was more of a curiousity piece to hear how Ghostface would sound over a Dilla insrumental. How is it? Well, it's kind of indescribable.
8. Heart Street Directions
9. Columbus Exchange/ "Crack Spot"
I wasn't really feeling this one. It was produced by Crack Val, isn't that saying enough? It would be smart to skip this one.
Kind of similar to song number 7. This song is for those that would like to hear Ghost and Rae the Chef over a Pete Rock composition. Nothing wrong with this track. It's no banger, but it's not anything you should sleep on either.
11. Bad Mouth Kid
These skits are growing old quickly.
12.Whip You With A Strap
No matter how gently Ghostface sings (or lullaby's in my opinion) it doesn't make a difference. This shit does not sound good together. What is Ghost doing making songs for the ladies? Ruins a good Dilla instrumental.
Editors note: Yeah, I was wrong about this one.
13. Back Like That
Another song for the ladies, this one sounds a lot more natural, but still sounds like 100% Grade A synthetic bullshit. Any time you feature Ne-Yo on a track your not speaking from the heart but from your record label's pockets. It was a single so I can't really complain.
14. Be Easy
I don't really know how to describe this one. It's a lighthearted single that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's very Wu while also being very poppy (figure that one out).
15. Clipse Of Doom
The beat is terrible here. And it really detaches from this song. Very generic hook too.
Something about MF Doom producing a track for the ladies doesn't sing for me. This track was very ehhh anyway.
17. Dogs Of War
Pete Rock is killing it at this point. A Sly & The Family Stone sample? Yes! Trife Da God is weak as usual, but the rest of the guests go hard. Preaching the family message here.
Interlude with about 30 seconds of spitting. I don't think you'll miss anything by skipping this one.
19. Ms. Sweetwater
These skits are killing me, and not in the Pete Rock sense either. Huh? Read the commentary for Dogs Of War.
20. Big Girl
Ghost produced this track himself. The vocal sample he uses really interferes with his sing-song flow. But aside from that, this song stood out to me.
No matter how good Ghost's verse would have been, this should have been a straight instrumental. It holds it's own by leaps and bounds. That being said Ghost sounds pretty good over this instrumental, but if I were to make a recommendation it would be to track down the original beat from MF Doom's Orange Blossoms.
22. The Ironman Takeover
It's only five seconds.
I can feel the P Diddy influence just smacking me across the face. It's a good song despite it, but it's obviously a Hitmen production job.
24. Three Bricks
The grand finale. Ghost, Raekwon and a recycled Biggie verse. It's a good song to finish out a good album.
Overall this album was good. There were far too many songs and far far far too many interludes. But there are a good number of tracks that are well worth your time to track down.
I give this album an 83.
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