STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

US RELEASE: August 14, 2015

UK RELEASE: August 28, 2015

Dir. F.Gary Gray

Running Time: 2h 30mins

I’m about to say a shocking revelation, and it goes like this: I care NOT for Batman Vs Superman. The film means nothing to me. When it drops next year, I sincerely hope y’all enjoy the blockbuster, I’m sure it will be off the hook. Don’t mind me, I’ll be sitting here continuing to bring you great reviews and hot radio shows. It’s what I do.

Straight_Outta_Compton_posterYou already know I don’t go to cinema for any old film. Nearly £10 to watch a movie… GOOD LORD… have I been away THAT LONG? My cousin who was with me when we went to the cinema with our brothers, asked how much a bottle of cola was. The woman turned round to him and said – £2:50….My cuz was like – “…..FORGET IT!!!” Yes people that’s two supermalts and a Cadbury’s Crunchie. A kebab and chips. 2 piece of Southern Fried Chicken & Chips… WITH A DRINK!

Don’t get it twisted – I am appalled by the prices but this was a special moment. Five grown brothers between the ages of 35 – 43 excited like little kids anticipating the viewing of Straight Outta Compton, the REAL superhero movie of citizens from the hood versus the corrupt cops and the federal government, something which is still relevant and more re-occuring as of late.

A biopic about the rise and fall of Hip Hop’s most dangerous group, the successes, tragedies, the management, police brutality, and brotherhood. Directed by the same man responsible for the first Friday film 20 years ago, has F.Gary Gray created another classic that 20 years later, my brothers will still be talking about while we slamming dominoes at family get togethers?

Die-hard fans know the story pretty much inside out, but for the more casual hip hop fan or those who want to know more of the history, I’ll explain the movie’s plot.

Considering that there were 5 members in the Compton Collective, the movie’s focal point revolve around Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), Dr.Dre (Corey Hawkins) & Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr). One being business minded, another having such a passion for music, the other with a vast knowledge and writing skills. They have one thing in common: continuous police harassment. Guys are merely on their travels or just simply standing there and the police can’t help but abuse their authority.

Through trial and error searching for MCs to make it big, the group take it among themselves to get in the booth to create records. Early success from Eazy calls forth the attention of a one Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti), who promises to take Eazy and the crew to worldwide fame, and he delivered…but it didn’t come without its controversies.

Most NWA fans know the story, but knowing what happened with Heller, the audience can not help but love Giamatti’s on-screen character in the early going. Standing up to the police while they have the ‘gang members’ on the floor was a delightful sight. This was the trigger that led to the group’s most dangerous record.

As the saying goes: ‘If you tell someone NOT to do something, they will do it’. The single ‘F**k Tha Police’ hit secret power points within America’s law enforcement and  warned the group not to perform it on stage. This is a great scene as the group blatantly defied and refused to conform and performed the track anyway, and one officer looked like he was tempted to bop his head but knew he had to carry out his duty. Riots erupted and the police soon out runs NWA. Arrested and thrown in a van, all five guys were actually laughing about it.

Ice Cube quickly discovers Heller’s questionable strategies and realises everyone is getting the short end of the deal apart from Eazy. Cube leaves the group, joins Priority Records and records the infamous diss track ‘No Vaseline’ aimed at his former group and boss. While the group found the diss track amusing, it is Heller who is so riled up he looked like he wanted to go in the booth himself and record a response.

The group’s success reaches the eyes and ears of Suge Knight (R.Marcus Taylor). Knight approaches Dre and lures him to Death Row Records. The move costs Eazy a vicious beat down, and Knight’s violent demeanor was one Dre never anticipated nor did he sign up for.

When Eazy’s eyes were finally open, he wanted to reform the group but this time without Heller. It seems like bridges were about to be rebuilt and Heller looking like he’s gonna have a breakdown, but then Eazy is diagnosed with HIV and passes away. This brings the group back together and brings Dre to a revelation.

Straight Outta ComptonThe movie’s most memorable scenes include the groupie party which had the movie theatre in laughter. The way Eazy frightened the party poopers off with Uzi’s was hilarious and the ‘ho’ in connection was thrown out the hotel by Cube was disrespectful, but hilarious at the same time.

Corey Hawkins’ movie role was portrayed as a noble one. All Dre was interested in was making that music, but he finds himself ridden with guilt and regret by not taking his brother on tour with him, had he took him, he believed that his brother would not have met his unfortunate end. Dre’s ‘fearless’ attitude against Knight has the audience rooting for his success, yet at the same time slightly unrealistic given Knight’s reputation.

But it’s O’Shea Jackson Jr, whose portrayal of his father had him emerge as the film’s true star because everything he did in the movie seemed natural to him to a point where your mind doubts you for a split second that you’re watching Ice Cube himself on-screen. His superior intellect against the press and the journalist is comedy gold and right and exact at the same time.

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BROTHERHOOD. Pictured from left to right: Clint Bennett (Cousin), Richard Selby, Chris Spence and Michael Grant (author and C.E.O. of RePPiN4U)

What this movie has done is cover ground for those who don’t know about one of Hip Hop’s great pioneers, and may surprise die-hard fans in places. While some may criticize the movie missing out scenes that may consider vital to the story, they need to realise two things: One, it’s a two and a half hour movie, which definitely didn’t feel that long because of the film’s pacing and keeping the viewer engaged throughout, and two, when the DVD/Blu-ray comes out in a few months, how do they know they won’t include deleted scenes and outtakes that might be interesting. Imagine if they did add such scenes. Not many films can hold the audience interest for over 2 hours as it is.

What I loved about this movie was the display of brotherhood, and watching the guys perform some of my favourite tracks that made me feel like a proud family member, as if I grew up with them. There are some great touches in the film such as Ice Cube writing the plot for what would be the classic ‘Friday’, you see him cracking up as he writes which showed a great sign, and the real footage used in connection with the Rodney King case. NWA was tired of hearing songs saying ‘Darling I Love You’ Which was why they came with something real. Best of all, Dre’s ‘Compton Soundtrack’ makes so much more sense now. The album is an inspiration to the movie, it’s not Detox, nor is it the Chronic/2001 and nor is it trying to match that. It’s a reflection of the film, and the way Gray had this film end was a way that there could be a follow-up, at the same time not necessary to do so, and then it finally hits you. Dr. Dre was just Talking To His Diary.

PUBLIC ZU ANNOUNCEMENT

It all started with the misunderstood Wu-Album – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin…Cilvaringz is now the fans’ public enemy #1. Method Man initially got wires crossed about the 88 year concept, then with an NY Fitted, driving glasses, office shirt and a cardigan, Meth blazed the airwaves earlier this year. The attire doesn’t seem to match, but charismatic Meth made it look cool. Not only does he put Cilvaringz on blast, but he calls out fake Wu-Affiliates…

Listen from 16:00…

“Killarmy, because they have blood brothers in there…you know, like 9th Prince – that’s RZA’s blood brother right there, and Killa Sin – that’s Power’s blood brother right there you know…direct ties plus we watched them grow up…

…Sunz of Man, those brothers are on Dirty’s side, because Dirty grew up with 60 Sec (60 Second Assassin) Prodigal Son been around since day 1 when we was recording the album (36 Chambers), Hell Razah, those brothers I consider true…”

That interview along with a few others at that time made Wu fans (and affiliates) think ‘Enough is Enough! And it’s Time For a Change!’

BuddhaMonk_Interview_111108Buddha Monk of the Zu Bulliez (best known for his hit ‘Gots Like Come On Thru’  took to YouTube and delivered an 18 minute assault on those who are claiming that they are Wu-Tang, which is funny because RZA (or anybody else in the clan) has never mentioned them in interviews, while Rest Rico is on Skype in the background laughing his @$$ off but knowing what a serious situation this is.

Highlights include telling Young Dirty Bastard to straighten his act up and stop riding with guys who are talking in his ear about the Clan not doing anything for him, exposing a ‘Tyler Simpson’ for his music and acting like he’s Jamaican, he calls out ‘groupies’ claiming they are Wu by throwing pictures of them posed with clan members on social media. I suppose that makes me a Wu-Tang affiliate by posing with Ghostface Killah in London last year huh????!!! And he addresses the controversial scene at Sean Price’s funeral where Popa Wu confronted Action Bronson.

Buddha Monk continues to tell those exposed to contact him should they have issues. The truth is, had Ol’ Dirty Bastard not passed away in 2004, he would be the guy to put these guys on blast.

This video is a must-see for all Wu-Tang fans worldwide. Even with this, Buddha Monk may have merely scratched the surface of so-called affiliates and promises to get them all on his upcoming album… I hope they enjoy what’s left of their summer.

YOU WANT SOME JUICE?

YOU WANT SOME JUICE?

YOU WANT SOME JUICE???

DR. DRE – Compton: A Soundtrack

WRITTEN BY MARK MCAULEY

Co-written by Michael Grant (Editor)

compton-dr-dre-streamIt was like the new Terminator Genisys film, the hip hop world was tangling with the squabbling between Drake & Meek Mill, and Action Bronson put on blast by Ghostface Killah for breaking the unwritten hip hop commandment, when suddenly – BOOOOOOOOOM!!! Dr. Dre drops the bomb in his new soundtrack-album and the hip hop world has divided, they either love it or hate it.

This is Dr.Dre’s final project, so one of hip hop’s pioneers has to go out with a bang. After 16 years of trial and error, doubts creeping within his fans, Dr Dre ultimately shelved Detox. André Young is a perfectionist, and with that, gives himself high expectations which in effect has his fans in high expectations.

Inspired by the film ‘Straight Outta Compton’, the Doctor has crafted 16 tracks, with a plethora of legendary artists combined with the newest cats in the game.

1. Intro – Movie type entrance and brief but powerful tribute to Compton and past troubles.
2. Talk About It (feat. King Mez & Justus)

3/5. Not a favorite on the album but I can see why it opened the album due to its fast pacing, the hook is a bit of a throw off but Dre’s verse about still having that fire and motivation still was admirable.
3. Genocide (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Marsha Ambrosius, Candice Pillay)

3.5/5. Much stronger track than the previous, unconventional sounding Dre beat but well suited to the artists on the track, Candice’s verse was only thing that dragged this song down, Kendrick’s feature was very strong as he rep’s Compton and his rise as an artist, this song shows the brutality and bleakness going on in Compton, I can see people enjoying this one slightly more than me.
4. It’s All on Me (feat. Justus & BJ the Chicago Kid)

4/5. The most down tempo song on the album, As Dre dives into his past for a minute and speaks on his first time meeting Snoop Dogg, Suge Knight and he speaks on when he wasn’t as rich as he is now, I really think if they used BJ The Chicago Kid more effectively and Nate Dogg was still here to jump on this one instead of JustUS, then this song could have pushed this one up more.
5. All in a Day’s Work (feat. Marsha Ambrosius & Anderson Paak)

4.5/5. The Anderson Paak might throw off a Hip-Hop head on first listen but for me he impresses highly on here and I can hear his passion, As Dre talks about how he was always about his grind and making history despite his surroundings and how that reality star fame ain’t for him and he references Jay Z “Can’t Knock The Hustle” as he knocks that hollywood fame cursing the game.
6. Darkside/Gone (feat. King Mez, Kendrick Lamar, Marsha Ambrosius)

4/5. Solid track with a more down tempo side to it , this track is split in 2 parts from a different perspective, on “Darkside” King Mez speaks on still been stuck in the gangster lifestyle despite not been one, Dre And Kendrick come correct speaking on staying real and not letting change happen despite what people say or whatever controversy they bring. Marsha Ambrosius is great on the hook and I love the piano over the beat. Eazy-E also appears in the way of sampling and its nice touch.
7. Loose Cannons (feat. Xzibit & Cold 187um) 3.5/5.

This song is a little too chaotic for me but I still enjoy it on the whole, aggressive track with a lot of imagery on it, Xzibit comes correct with a standout verse. Eminem would have taken this track up a notch if he was on it, seemed fitting for his style.
8. Issues (feat. Anderson Paak & Ice Cube) 3.5/5.

The production was not really my style, Was nice to hear Cube again as he speaks on how you better respect his rep, Dre sounds great on here tho and has the strongest verse, Dem Jointz brings this track down with his modern and auto tune sounding hook, solid track besides a little flaws.

9. Deep Water (feat. Justus & Kendrick Lamar)

4.5/5. Oh man the production is beautiful here with the Jazzy horns, This one is another passionate shout to Compton but Dre speaks on his worries for the youth, the Environment and the peer pressures that come with it, Kendrick Lamar steals the show and takes this track to the next level with his best feature on the record, he takes some shots at Drake, then gets deep and emotive when he slips into some Characterization like he does on his previous work, really does create imagery while listening to the song.
10. One Shot One Kill (feat. Snoop Dogg & Jon Connor)

4/5. Great production on this song and tempo, Snoop Dogg is on his old school sound and sounds passionate and like he has some fire in his voice as he speaks on how he deserves his respect for what he’s done in the game and how he knows how to make records, Jon Connor steals the show with the hook and his rapid fire flow.
11. Just Another Day (Featuring The Game & Asia Bryant)

3.5/5. Probably one of the best beats on the whole project, very lavish and jazzy horns again, The Game shows a lot of technical skill rapping but there’s not really much lyrical content on this one and Asia Bryant comes in sounding a lot like Rihanna, The Game fans should feel happy with this one though and be more positive about “The Documentary 2”.
12. For the Love of Money (Jill Scott & Jon Connor & Anderson Paak)

4/5. They lean on a sample of the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony of the same name, Jill Scott is beautiful on the hook and its a welcome addition to the song, Jon Connor spits more of that passionate and fast paced rapping and Dre really shows his rapping skills on this with an equally as fast pace, the finale of the song with the strings add to the quality.
13. Satisfaction (feat. King Mez, Marsha Ambrosius, Snoop Dogg)

3.5/5. Just another smooth track with nothing too special going on lyrically, some comedic bars are thrown in as they speak on the topic of Money and how materialism isn’t always as good as it is made out to be.
14. Animals (feat. Anderson Paak)

5/5. My favorite track on the album, Very deep record as Anderson Paak gets emotive, as he speaks on his people been portrayed incorrectly in the media and treated like “Animals” by the Police, The hook is beautiful but emotive as Anderson says “The police don’t come around these parts they tell me that we all a bunch of animals, The only time they wanna turn the cameras on Is when we’re f***!n’ sh!t up”, DJ Premier comes in at the end with some scratches and fun rapping, this track is perfection.
15. Medicine Man (feat. Candice Pillay, Anderson Paak, Eminem)

4.25/5. Candice sounds a lot better with just the hook, Dre raps passionate and speaks on his frustrations of the way the world is at times and the behaviour of some people, Eminem steals the show with some shock lines and more of his old style shining through on the record, good feature for sure from him.
16. Talking to My Diary

4.5/5. Straight up Hip-Hop record right here and the most personal song on the record from Dre as the song title suggests. The production on this song is beautiful and the flow is smooth as hell, definitely the right song to end the project on.

EDITOR’S THOUGHTS

At time of publishing this, I haven’t heard the album as the stream is not available in every country in apple store. StraightOuttaComptonGathering from what I have heard on social media, a lot of people are disappointed with the record. I found this surprising as Dr Dre stated he wasn’t happy with creating Detox. Could it be that fans were hoping for another ‘Chronic’? The concept on this album is different to the previous two. The one similarity between this and 2001 at least, is that Dre brought in a formula of bringing back artists we know and love as contributors, while bringing in new artists on that will bring hip hop into the next few years. Fans also need to realise that this is a 50-year-old man who cannot talk about the same things he did in his NWA/Chronic days, nor can he re-create that same sound. If he did, it would sound contrived. Bottom line, the likes of Illmatic, 36 Chambers, Chronic etc will NEVER be re-created. Maybe when the film is released and sure-fire music videos come out, some of these tracks will make a lot more sense because sometimes visuals bring out the tracks a lot more. The album doesn’t really sound that bad, just that fans wanted that groundbreaking result.

Dr. Dre: THANK YOU. The Detox speculation is finally over, you are appreciated. But just because it’s his last project, doesn’t mean he’s hung up his production keyboards.

CHEF RAEKWON – ONLY BUILT 4 CUBAN LINX… 20th ANNIVERSARY

I’ve waited a long time to write this, and finally, that day has come.

OB4CLI want to introduce you to Michael Grant at 15 years old. He was a video games geek, he was shy around the girls his age. He had crushes on certain girls at school but never confident enough to approach them and ask them out, but he was actually a fairly popular kid. He wasn’t a heart-throb, but he was known for being the best at Street Fighter II in his year. Many would challenge him, but they would all fall. He developed a hatred for the boy band Take That, while the girls would mark their school book with the Take That logo, Grant would draw the Wu-Tang logo on his. Take That split up as a boy band and while the girls were heartbroken, Grant would rub it in with his friends chanting WU-TANG! all over the school. The last weeks of his year was work experience for two weeks. He was unexpectedly awarded £25 for his work, and then he decided to buy his first album.

In the summer of 95, the two artists that were hot in Grant’s mind were Nine (Whatcha Want?) and Lords Of the Underground who had singles called ‘Tic Toc’ & ‘What I’m After’. Grant set off into town with two friends and made a B-Line for Ruby Red Records and those two artists were in his crosshairs, unknown to Grant however was an album waiting to be purchased and it had this magnetic aura about it…

Grant was drawn to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx by the mighty power of the Wu logo… now he was torn between three albums. His moms instilled the thought in his head of getting ‘value for money’. He picked up the cassette tapes and thought, ’13 -15 tracks on these albums while Raekwon got 17 for the same price?’ And that, along with the persuasion of his friends (Leon Crooks & Winston Chamberlain – I hope they don’t mind me mentioning them) Grant took a risk and brought the album he never set out to buy. Chef Raekwon as Lex Diamonds Guest Starring Ghostface Killer as Tony Starks: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… THIS IS MY STORY.

AUGUST 1, 1995.

I was there just looking at the inlay and fascinated by the Purple Tape I was holding. I left Winston & Leon because it was time for me to do my paper round. I remember this day so well – it was a beautiful sunny day. 57 Express & Star newspapers in a large bag strapped around my shoulder, Headphones connected to my Sony Walkman, Purple Tape inserted, I was ready to begin delivering my papers for the day. For some reason I had a spring in my step, not sure why, I didn’t lose my virginity, it was just another day delivering papers right? (actually it wasn’t just another day, it was my Grandma’s birthday…)

1. STRIVING FOR PERFECTION – 1:43

I mis-understood what Rae & Ghost were saying on first listen… Ghost was like “I’m hanging my sh!t up if my sh!t don’t work right here God…” Rae agreed “I feel the same way…” For a moment, I thought they meant their hip hop career. I was worried…I only hit play and this was what I heard for the first two minutes???

2. KNUCKLEHEADZ – 4:05

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks and Golden Arms A.K.A. Lucky Hands

Entering my first block of flats in Lowe Street, my ears heard a BANGA… this album re-defined goosebumps… I had to hit the rewind button… this would be the first of many rewinds on the album that I was yet to experience. Hey, ever played this track with bass turned up to 10? No? I suggest you add it to your things to do before you die…

3. KNOWLEDGE GOD – 4:27

My naïve 15-year-old self didn’t know what all that weird sniffing noise was in the track…When it hit me later I was like… ‘Should have known…’ but coming from a smoke free family, I wouldn’t know anything about that. I wanted to know about ‘Wu-Tang Karate’!!! If only they opened ‘Wu-Tang Kung Fu Sword Style’ schools over here…

4. CRIMINOLOGY – 3:49

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks

Before the album dropped, Leon borrowed me a cassette tape of tunes he taped off the radio. This track was one of them… I had to get a copy and give him the tape back! Ghostface went OFF on this one… while Rae continued to make his trademark gun sound effect famous… BLAOW!!!! It was so dope that he convinced us that’s how guns actually sounded when you pulled the trigger!

5. INCARCERATED SCARFACES – 4:30

I made a foolish mistake here, instead of letting people check out the album for themselves, I borrowed the tape to certain people. That would come back to haunt me as it went round the whole Whitmore Reans district and the Purple Tape came back damaged… something happened to this track like the tape got chewed up and whoever was responsible used the pen and carefully put the actual tape back together. The tape could play, but when it came to this track, half the track was missing. That’s them taking kindness for weakness, but fair play to them for fixing the tape the best they could.

6. RAINY DAYZ – 5:17

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks, and Blue Raspberry

Still delivering the papers on a warm summer day, it was anything but Rainy. On first listen, Ghostface didn’t finish his verse. The RZA beat took me to another dimension so much my eyes were watering… I hit the rewind button more than once. The song was so powerful that I could willingly stand in the pouring rain listening to this, and NOT catch a cold.

7. GUILLOTINE (Swordz) – 4:21

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks, Inspectah Deck A.K.A. Rollie Fingers, and Genius

THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A VIDEO TO THIS! I remember myself, Winston & Leon randomly hum this beat in class or outside of school for no reason, like our minds synched and we’d just start humming the beat. See in school there were only a select few who knew of the Wu-Tang. One day I was at my cousin’s house. We were watching a film called Shaolin Vs Lama, a film we borrowed by a guy known as ‘Big Tec’ (he knows who he is if he’s reading this!) I heard the movie samples that RZA used and that was my first starstruck experience. I was like ‘YO CLINT! (CUZ) THE WU-TANG HAVE SEEN THIS FILM!!!’ Since then, I have been on an ongoing quest to collect every kung fu film RZA has sampled. I believe some Wu die hards on my FB friends list have succeeded…

8. CAN IT BE ALL SO SIMPLE (Remix) – 4:10

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks

What I miss about skits is that back in the day, they were so authentic and you could paint a picture in your head and R-4803369-1376004500-7871.jpegimagine. In this case I could imagine walking with Rae & Ghost going up to the fool and jacking him for his riches before the fool bust his gun. Nowadays you can tell that any skit was recorded in the studio and staged. Albums these days hardly have any skits though. I prefer this to the original though… I loved how RZA was just playing around with the original beat and thought – HMMMMMMM!!! I also miss how back then you knew that Side 1/A was coming to an end and you knew it was time to turn the tape over.

9. SHARK NIGGAS (BITERS) 1:39

Oh dear Biggie and Bad Boy had really done it didn’t they! The most memorable line was Ghostface saying “I don’t want n!&&@$ sounding like me…on NO ALBUM…” So in a way I waited for 19 years for someone to dare sound like Ghost. And on the 20th year, that man would emerge. He was actually in the game years before that but it came to boiling point recently. Ghost approached him via social media and just like that, Wu-fans turned against the sinner in a heartbeat. See the Wu-Tang has that power on their fans. They don’t tell their fans to do something, fans react in an almost loyal, worshipping way. Ask the guy who flipped the bird at Ghost at a show… you won’t see him again!

10. ICE WATER – 4:02

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks, and Cappachino

Did Chef Raekwon have this vision from 95? To have his record company to be named after this track? Probably did… unless you never saw the Ice Cream video, this is the first time we would hear the 10th member of the clan. I thought RZA went off on one with this beat…but then….

11. GLACIERS OF ICE – 4:54

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks, & Master Killer A.K.A. Noodles

Vocals by Blue Raspberry & 62nd Assassin of Sunz of Man

If Ghostface Killah wasn’t a rapper, he would be an outstanding Door to Door salesman. Listen to his sales pitch with the Wallabee Clarks. If he turned up to my house trying to sell em, I would be ordering a pair for every month… but then… the tune kicks in… WHAT WAS RZA THINKING??!!! Here I was, 15-year-old paper boy named Michael Grant losing my mind on street delivering these papers, Banging my head, face screwed up. Instant goosebumps, then Blue Raspberry just had to go and sing out…..”OHHHHHHHHHH!!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!” I hit the STOP BUTTON. I had to comprehend what was playing on my Walkman… the thoughts of ‘best tune on the album’ were emerging. It was like a BOMB hit Whitmore Reans/Dunstall with the excitement. THEN I hit rewind. I was the eldest of 3 at the time. My moms wasn’t working, the Pound currency changed to a W. That’s how I got Wu-Tang Money all up in the FAMILY!

12. VERBAL INTERCOURSE – 4:07

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks, and Nas A.K.A. Nas Escobar

I had to calm down after multiple epic rewinds of Glaciers of Ice, and RZA knew we all had to. what better than to feature Nas? One man singlehandedly changed the game with Illmatic, he had to be on this album. That was the beauty of this era – heads brought the album of the artist they were feeling. These days? It’s like ‘What’s the line up??? this person’s on the album? That person’s on it? This album gotta be good because look at all the appearances…’ NO. STOP THAT. I’m glad that artists are now bringing it back to the original purpose of having one producer all the way through the album with minimal guest appearances. It should be about YOU not them.

13. WISDOM BODY – 2:34

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks

True say the Wu-Tang among other artists were embracing the 5% Nation in the records, it never clocked in my brain til I was 17 when Wu-Tang Forever came out. I call this the ‘prelude’ to Ice Cream…

14. SPOT RUSHERZ 3:51

The crazy thing about this tune, wasn’t the tune itself. My cuz (Clint) was like ‘What is that tune that’s on in the background’? It sounded off the hook!!! Clint was like – ‘we are Wu-Tang Fans… that means we must grab hold of EVERY TUNE they had’. We said that at 15/16. It’s 2015, and that mission has still not accomplished. Turns out that the tune appeared in a ST Ides Commercial that aired in the US. So we in the UK never knew anything about that… however you can get the tune on WuTang-Corp.com

15. ICE CREAM 4:15

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks, Method Man A.K.A. Johnny Blaze & Cappachino

If you didn’t label your women after these ice cream flavours something was wrong with you! Do they still have these Ladies T-shirts in rotation? It’s just a thought if I held a 36th Birthday party (HINT) that all women must wear the proper T-shirts…back in school, myself, Winston & Leon were calling certain girls in our year ‘french vanilla, butter pecan, chocolate deluxe, caramel sundaes….’ they know who they are. I’m not naming names as I don’t want no problems, I don’t want their men responding to this, nor any women who feel ‘insulted’ that we didn’t address them as such!

16. WU-GAMBINOS – 5:09

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks, Method Man A.K.A. Johnny Blaze, The RZA A.K.A. Bobby Steels and Master Killer A.K.A. Noodles

As much as we love Wu solo albums, nothing beats a good ol’ Wu-Banga. What I don’t understand is, why doesn’t the clan perform this live? I’ve seen them twice and both times I haven’t seen them perform this. Same goes with Guillotine (Swordz)… this tune actually brings me to 1997… because I had brought the ‘Triumph’ single. On that single was the Hidden Chambers Remix to this, which I actually prefer. I remember me and my friend Nigel, we used to catch the same bus to go to work and Wu was all we talked about. We used to refer them as ‘The BOYZ’!  We loved the remix crazy, every day the commuters on the 504 bus would hear us reciting lyrics and I wished that this along with RZA’s Tragedy made Wu-Tang Forever.

17. HEAVEN & HELL – 4:57

Featuring Ghostface Killer A.K.A. Tony Starks

First time I heard this, it was on Yo! MTV Raps on the Fresh Soundtrack. At that time I didn’t even clock on that Raekwon’s album was coming. Because I had the Purple Tape, here’s me thinking that’s the end of the album… I didn’t have the CD version yet simply because we never had a CD player… so I didn’t know about the album’s REAL outro…one thing is for sure, I couldn’t play this in front of Grandma (God Bless her Soul) Well I couldn’t play hip hop in front of Grandma period. But given this tune’s hook, and Grandma being a full Christian… you figure it out when you get home…!!

18. NORTH STAR (JEWELS) – 4:00

It wasn’t until around 2004/2005 I heard this. What happened was I landed a full-time job in West Bromwich, it was the sort of job which you could play your own music while you work. So I went on a mission to collect nearly every classic CD from the 90s that I loved, specially those that I didn’t have before because I was always buying Wu albums. first artists to break that mould were Biggie and Busta. So when I heard this, eyes were watering… hearing Ol’ Dirty Bastard harmonizing in the background like that… it hits you that the album’s over. It’s one of those, zoning out, look up into the sky like moments, especially now with ODB gone…Even with Popa Wu talking to Rae it was like one of my elders talking to me…

raekwon-6As you can tell, from the moment I made that decision to buy my very first album, all the way til the album finished, this was a special moment for me, and I want it quoted in my Big Red Book when I reach 88 years old and some guy approaches me and says ‘Michael Grant, This Is Your Life’, and all my peoples re-emerge and reunite. Yes Supreme Clientele is my favourite album ever, but you never forget your FIRST. You never forget your first time you kissed someone, or the first time you smoked a blunt, (I don’t smoke so I wouldn’t know anything about that) Your first time going to a nightclub, the first time you had sex… but you NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST TIME YOU BROUGHT YOUR FIRST ALBUM.

Thank you Chef Raekwon! You just need to bring your 20th Anniversary tour over here in the UK!