Ghost gains altitude on the spectral plane...,
This review is from: The W (Audio CD)
So we have stepped across the threshold of the new millenium and rap is bigger than ever. Commercial rap is riding high on a crest of multi-ethnic popularity and possible contractual duress is forcing artists to churn out 'less than inspired' pieces. This was never the case with the Wu Tang Clan.
Pioneers of a refreshing wave of 'live' hip hop in the early nineties, they injected a much-needed energy into hip hop when it was at risk of stagnating in a pool of West Coast Jheri curl juice. They now return in 2000 with a hark back to those halcyon days with a blazing new album.
Media snippets and rumours abounded as to the post-millenial direction they would take and it seems that the promise to recapture the late eighties/early nineties hip hop zeitgeist has been kept. After the slow, sombre beats and loops that dominated late nineties Wu production, we are now treated to tracks with an accelerated tempo suffused with an array of ill loops which emanates deeply industrial/uderground vibes accordingly.
Lyrically, The W hails Ghostface as possibly the greatest MC alive! 'I Can't go to Sleep' and 'Jah World' display the most emotive and expressive delivery heard in hip hop - Ghost adopts his status as the rap Marvin Gaye. He manages to simultaneously break all the established rules, yet his lyrics still fit the beats like elegant fingers in a velvet glove. This is not to say that the other clan members don't shine, it is just that the guest appearances can't seem to match the lyrical diversity of the Clan members themselves.
Rza's work in the movie realm has placed him in good stead for the production here. He runs the whole gamut, going from hauntingly eerie('Hollow Bones' and 'Careful') to party loops ('Protect Your Neck II') to orchestrally emotional ('I Can't go to Sleep').
Personally, the only thing the album is missing is the unorthodox and wild lyricism of ODB (he appears suprisingly clean and sober on 'Conditioner') then it would have received five stars. But overall it is still a must for all hip hop fans.