WU-TANG: THE SAGA CONTINUES

RELEASE: OCTOBER 13, 2017, EOne Music, Review by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U & member of Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition

THE STORY SO FAR:

“If you have a good day, you want A Better Tomorrow, if you had a bad day, you NEED A Better Tomorrow…” (RZA, 2014)

Sounds like RZA had a bad day at the office with the last LP. We all have a bad day at the office at some point or another. He needed A Better Tomorrow… so he told Ghostface, if we gonna form like Voltron again, I want you at the helm. Even at the press conferences for A Better Tomorrow album, when asked if this was the last Clan album, Method Man was the first to pipe up and say emphatically – NO….

wu tang the saga continues artwork maybe…but in August of 2017, the Wu-Tang Clan adopted the Killarmy like approach and emerged like Camouflage Ninjas with a new single – People Say… and took Hip Hop by surprise. Just like that, like an RKO outta nowhere, RZA & DJ Allah Mathematics announce a new album, took to all major radio outlets for interviews where the creator of the Wu logo publicly put his own neck on the line by saying “he studied the 36 Chambers album & Dr Dre’s 2001 and crafted the album based on those two releases.” …and just like that, fans expectations are raised to the highest.

With Mathematics now behind the boards for this one, he starts the album the right way with the Shaw Brothers introduction. Kung fu heads know that when they hear that, they are in for a quality film, and that was Mathematics approach here. Great science behind the kung fu sample chosen as well. To Mathematics, this is a test, he knows the consequences should he fails in this social media driven era, and the clan are out to kill the game on this go round. The Abbott still overseeing the project but keeping his hands away from the boards.

With that said, is it a Lesson Learned? Who better to kick off the album with the Rebel INS? Nice to hear the evil Skhreli himself get a mention in the track and it feels great to have Redman jump in the track with a clan member other than Method Man and share that synergy. It’s a refreshing dynamic. The track flows nicely into ‘Fast & Furious’ with Raekwon and Hue Hef which sees them on the good ol’ Cuban Linx style storytelling tip.

In the hook of Lesson Learned, Redman states that his people don’t play, particularly his tag team partner Method Man who keeps his new curse-less rhyming style ferocious over a smooth beat in ‘If Time Is Money’. It’s almost like a two-part series as Meth continues in ‘Frozen’. His Wu-Massacre brothers jump in the hook, Killah Priest & Chris Rivers go in unfazed. Can’t help feeling that Ghostface’s vocals didn’t sound fresh though, slightly out-of-place but hey – it’s a minor right?

He more than makes up for it in the skit ‘Berto and the Fiend’ which its soulful vibe sounds like it was originally going to make Supreme Clientele 2…

As we enter one of the album’s many highlights: Pearl Harbour where we see yet another Boot Camp Clik appearance in Sean Price who ‘f**ks with Wu-Tang and a couple of new n!&&@$’… the track is so epic that it makes you wish Wu Camp Clik came with an album a few years ago instead of Wu-Block… or is it still possible in the next year? Calling Bernadette Price/Rockness & RZA/Mathematics! Said before in the Sean Price Imperius Rex review and again here – MAKE IT HAPPEN! Rockness himself would have been great on this track too…

…the same could be said for Ghostface Killah on the track that started it all in August 2017! Every MC went in, Mathematics lost his mind with the beat, and when it was released initially, turns out Mathematics still wasn’t satisfied, he went back and made some minor changes as Redman went in! You can hear all the signature sounds Mathematics does here especially when Masta Killa steps in to finish the track.

Big shout out to Shahrazad Ali who drops jewels in the ‘Family’ skit about the importance of the black man in families. I may not be an American Citizen, but going by what’s happening as of late, I say impeach Trump and elect this woman for president.

Then in ‘Why Why Why,’ another album highlight, we see a more hungry RZA rather than the somewhat ‘lazy’ flow we have seen RZA do as of late, here he’s sounding more like ‘The Cure RZA’ rather than the ‘Bobby Digital RZA’. Big up to Swnkah, putting a nice reggae riddim touch on the track.

In G’d Up, Method Man is throwing shots at wannabe Killa Bees… there they are, all over social media claiming they are a Wu-Tang affiliation. It’s a desperate and embarrassing sight… “You ain’t my people, I don’t care if you know RZA/‘Cause at the end of the day
I’m a problem boy, stay out of my way/if you see me in the streets, you better give me my space/And if I beat you to the punch I punch you dead in your face…” With Mzee Jones on the hook, you can hear the Dr Dre 2001 influence Mathematics was talking about.

Ol Dirty Bastard continues to prove he was light years ahead of everybody. at the end of the banger ‘If What You Say Is True’ which also shuts down speculations of GZA’s appearance on the album, Dirty tells the people how the media are trying to bring about a race war. RZA & Mathematics continue their teasing techniques on the Saga skit, wishing a full version of the song exists somewhere in 36 Chambers studios, then this is how it sounds when the Hood Go Bang…a track that makes you wish Red & Meth went in a bit longer.

Finally, with assistance from Steven Lattore, Ghostface encourages RZA & Cappadonna to channel their inner Pretty Toney in ‘My Only One’… directing their attention to the ladies, who probably wish Method Man jumped in on this one.

The album closes out with a great message addressing the young artists doing their thing in music and the older generation who have their constant qualms about their music.

RZA Mathematics quote

Sometimes in mathematics, you don’t find the correct answer straight away, and in this album, it will take quite a few listens for you to absorb everything, and once you have done that, you realise that Allah Mathematics has done a great job here. He has stayed closer to the Wu-Tang sound, and it is a vast improvement over the last LP (A Better Tomorrow) but here’s the twist: To those who had high expectations and were disappointed in this surprise project, on one hand I don’t blame you, because of the way this album has been promoted. This is in actual fact a glorified sequel to Wu-Tang: rza-dj-mathematicsChamber Music and Wu-Tang: Legendary Weapons. If Mathematics put this out with little promotion like he did with his previous projects – (Love, Hell & Right, The Problem and The Answer), the album may have been better received. But because it was promoted like it was a new Wu album of the bat, and because Allah Math modeled off 36 Chambers & Dr Dre’s 2001 in interviews, I can sympathise with you to an extent. Here we realise that fans actually care about U-God who is absent from this project, maybe due to legal reasons at the top of 2017, but this album felt like U-God’s face would have been replaced by Redman via Photoshop in the Wu-Tang Forever album cover. The album also suffers from a not having a full posse cut which has been on every major Wu album. After you get over U-God’s absence, this is a very enjoyable album that will get regular spins alongside Masta Killa’s Loyalty Is Royalty, until the next solo or group project surfaces.

Advertisements

BUSTA RHYMES – When Disaster Strikes… 20th Anniversary

Released: September 16, 1997 on Elektra Records

Don’t you miss the countdown to the millennium? Can’t lie, it was an exciting time. Either two things were gonna happen as it hit January 1, 2000… either everything instantly turned futuristic on some Back To The Future style, cars would be flying, that sort of thing, or the world was going to blow up after ‘spinning around in space 2000 times’. But Busta Rhymes When Disaster StrikesBusta Rhymes took a double meaning to this approach. To him it also meant at the time 2 and half years left until he and the Flipmode Squad took over the rap game… well at least that was the plan.

I cannot pinpoint the actual time I purchased this album but I know it wasn’t on day of release. I do remember it was sometime between September and November of 1997. The days of Ruby Red Records were near its end, me and my people had discovered Birmingham. Those journeys from Wolverhampton to Birmingham and back again on the 126 bus…oh boy, there were untold stories. When the Gravediggaz album dropped (Pick, Sickle & Shovel) We gave that 126 bus a new name, but maybe that’s another article waiting to happen…

A lot of us hail E.L.E. Extinction Level Event as Busta Rhymes most well-rounded and overall best album, but for me personally it was a toss-up between Anarchy and When Disaster Strikes… 20 years later, THIS IS MY STORY.

INTRO

I wanna give a big shout out to my long time friend @imfootballmad on twitter, doing major things now on United Peoples TV. You gonna hear about @imfootballmad throughout this story. Back then we used this intro for every journey we made, every female orientated mission we had… “ALRIGHT BUSTA, LET’S GO!!”

THE WHOLE WORLD LOOKING AT ME

I FEEL SO SUPREME!!! This was my anthem when I got my NVQ in Accounting from the Chamber of Commerce. At 17, I was hoping to become the next great accountant… er… that didn’t turn out too well…

But now? As a proud member of the Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition and the GGO (Ghetto Government Officials) and host of the Best Damn Show In Wild1 Radio… Take a look at me, take a look… HA!

SURVIVAL HUNGRY

“I refuse to lose, look at the news and read the interviews… FLIPMODE IZ DA SQUAD!” I live by that line!

Here I’m not addressing the bandwagon jabronies who purchased the album after Turn It Up Remix (Fire It Up) came out… because they may not know about this tune which was cruelly taken off the album in favor for that Knight Rider sampled hit. I know which tune I would have taken off the album but more on that later. But hey, I gotta big up the bandwagon jabronies who supported Busta after Knight Rider. It may have been his most defining moment breaking into mainstream.

Just know this – Survival Hungry got a REEEEWWWWIINNNNNND!!!! On my way back from Birmingham on the 126 bus the day I brought this album.

WHEN DISASTER STRIKES…

…YOU WILL SEE!!!! Already by this time my concerns about Busta Rhymes evolving rhyming style had already been eradicated. Initially I didn’t think Busta could top ‘The Coming’ judging by ‘Put Your Hands….’ but I’ll talk about that later… the feisty, full-blown in your face dungeon dragon Busta Rhymes was here in full effect in the first three tracks… that’s the Busta I like! But if you followed Busta from Leaders Of The New School, and each year you took a recording of him, over a period of time you would hear his voice change, and change, and adapt and evolve…

SO HARDCORE

“I walk through brick walls, f**k around hijack your whole shopping mall!” Busta’s animated persona made me really think he was really capable of walking through brick walls! You could imagine it in a music video, especially when he had his dreads! This was an early favourite of mine! If your headpiece is not banging at this point, your local GP is open from 8am til around 7pm Monday to Friday. Make that appointment.

GET HIGH TONIGHT

Everybody who knows me well knows I’m not that guy, I don’t do drugs… but tune like this – that’s how I get my high… If there was anyone else outside of De La Soul & Redman who were kings of the skits, it’s Busta & Flipmode. So if you don’t smoke weed or anything like that, don’t think this is not for you – IT IS!

TURN IT UP/FIRE IT UP

I seriously think the original Turn It Up was so underrated. Imagine this at house parties on some Kid N Play style and the bass pumping and there you are grabbing a female’s thigh and wrapping it round your ribs while you’re killing the full set of teet like your name is Eddie Murphy! That’s the vibe this tune gave to me…

Now my favourite story of Fire It Up… it was 1998, May Bank Holiday. Atlantis nightclub was the place to be… if you loved dance and house music that is! But this time, everything changed! There was me, my cousin Clint, @imfootballmad, and a few others, we all got in the club after strategies of going in separately, or pairing up with women we were hoping to score with later in the night, walking round with our birth certificate, passport, whatever…because you know bouncers don’t like a bunch of brothers trying to get in the club!

Anyway, the DJ did something at the time was unimaginable. He suddenly switched from dance music and played Busta Rhymes – Fire It Up. Unknown to us at the time, this track blew up the pop charts and suddenly, black people rushed the dancefloor. Sampling Knight Rider was never done before, and the way Busta took us back to our youth while keeping it Hip Hop was incredible. Atlantis Nightclub and every nightclub in the UK was never the same again.

PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE MY EYES COULD SEE

Now this is the track that had me nervous… it was his first single and Busta dropped this new calmer style to kick off the second album… but as mentioned earlier my doubts went out the window and as that happened, I warmed into this, best memory of this was the Lick Party with Trevor Nelson at the Mezzanine Nightclub 2000 I think it was…holy smokes this blew up the party! Once again there was me at @imfootballmad dropping two foot and being dutty with the women around us – I have only been to two MTV Lick Parties… good lord the females!!! Ok enough of all that – Keep it moving…

IT’S ALL GOOD

This is one of my all time favourite skits… and I have always wanted to do this – it WAS on my bucket list… let’s just say I never did it, but if you’re talking about two guys dancing with one girl in the club, and hollering the word ‘FLIPMODE!!!!’ in great joy, then YES! It’s all good!!!

The only thing I couldn’t understand was – how this track was initially banned… after you had 2 Live Crew and all their shocking lyrical content….

THERE’S NOT A PROBLEM MY SQUAD CAN’T FIX F/ JAMAL

Big tribute to the classic disco track ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’ – see we have to teach the youth about foundation and Busta knows about foundation! So this is why I can never knock Busta for working with today’s mainstream artists – bottom line – dude knows his foundation. Some hip hop fans think if artists work with people they don’t like – it makes them a sellout or something. NONSENSE. Look at Raekwon for instance. dude worked with the likes of Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber – then turns around and makes a great album in The Wild.

Flipmode2

WE CAN TAKE IT OUTSIDE

This is one of my all time favourite Flipmode Squad tracks! First time I heard this – it was on Tim Westwood Radio 1… remember him?

I was told that recently Tim Westwood was trying to flirt with Cardi B – do you know this guy is about to hit 60 this year? Cardi B as I understand, has not hit her 25th Birthday, or has just turned 25. Let that sink in…

Anyway I digress… THIS TUNE!!! Damn it was intense! But my favourite story revolves around my good friend Steven Downie, because the skit before this reminded him of himself back in school days… I mean, when Lord Have Mercy is beating down the jabroni down the stairs in a house party and with each punch he exclaims ‘HAAH!’ ‘HAAH!’ move move move move – HAAAH!!! That is straight comedy to a serious situation!

Talking of  a ‘serious situation’… whatever happened to ‘SERIOUS’? Remember him?

RHYMES GALORE

I still haven’t done it! It shall be done! I mean I know my dude @imfootballmad knows what I’m talking about! Acting a fool in the car when this tune drop just like Busta & Spliff! I’ve always wanted to learn the words to this… and never got round to it…

THINGS WE BE DOING FOR MONEY PART 1

I could be wrong – I feel like this turned out to be more filler than a great 2-part story highlight…  the other tracks on the album were just too strong!!!!

THINGS WE BE DOING FOR MONEY PART 2 F/ RAMPAGE/ANTHONY HAMILTON/THE CHOSEN GENERATION

…then after all that it turned out to be a bad dream, and Rampage has to cuss Busta for phoning him up at ungodly hours! I’ll keep it 100 – I don’t like guys running up my FB inbox talking nonsense at those breed of hours, that’s the perfect recipe to being blocked!

ONE F/ ERYKAH BADU

I swore blind there was a video to this… I mean this is the portion of the album where Busta tries to let us know that there is a serious side to him, which was hard to digest at the time given his past music videos. But see this tune here? It’s still relevant and perhaps even more needed now, given all this terrorist business going on, North Korea acting a fool, Mr Trump pulling funny faces…

DANGEROUS

Aaaaah sheeeeeeeeeeet!!!! This was a mad favourite – back in the day me and my people used to hang in a little area called Lanesfield… once again – untold stories… there was this one dude who (for legal reasons shall not be named) we all used to hang round his house… we treated it like a playground, his moms was never around… we used to blast tunes, get drunk, act a fool the lot. When this tune dropped, it was party time – until we broke his moms coffee table! Up til now the breakages have not been paid in full…

THE BODY ROCK F/ RAMPAGE/PUFF DADDY/MA$E

I didn’t like this track… I thought it was dull. 20 years later, I STILL don’t like it. You know what happened? When RZA & GZA called out guys turning hip hop into rap & bullsh!t and all this playa dressing up acting like it was some fashion show… it was Puff Daddy & Ma$e they were referring to! They were mumble rap BEFORE mumble rap. Busta should have taken this track off in favor for Fire It Up (Knight Rider) but obviously I know why he didn’t…

GET OFF MY BLOCK F/ LORD HAVE MERCY

I call this the heartbreaking part of the album you know why? Busta was showcasing Spliff Star and Lord Have Mercy… both were next to blow according to this album… and they never came out. Instead The Flipmode Imperial album came out. As much as I love the Flipmode album, I thought it was a good chess move before Spliff and Lord Have Mercy dropped their projects but then suddenly Extinction Level Event dropped like a month later… I’m glad it didn’t deter Rah Digga from dropping her solo…it was meant to be my mission there after to purchase every Flipmode album as I became a big fan but the movement never really took off…

OUTRO – PREPARATION FOR THE FINAL WORLD FRONT

That’s actually the original title of the third album: Extinction Level Event – The Final World Front… but people are acting like that’s about to happen now! Maybe it is about that time for Busta to finally drop that new album… he got that new tune featuring Vybz Kartel, a next one featuring Swizz Beatz… Eight years Busta… don’t do a Dr. Dre, keep the fans waiting after like 15 years, then finally drop an album that’s not really up to par!

Take a bow Busta… they call you the Woo-Hah! man, the dungeon dragon and all that, but this album defined you, and E.L.E. just added on. SALUTE

bustarhymes_finger

SEAN PRICE: Imperius Rex

RELEASE: AUGUST 8, 2017, DUCK DOWN RECORDS

PHYSICAL RELEASE (According to Amazon.co.uk) AUGUST 25, 2017

REVIEW BY MICHAEL GRANT: CEO of RePPiN4U & Member of GGO/WuWorldwide DJ Coalition

“You ain’t gotta wait til I’m gone… you should have built the ‘Pac statue when he was here to see it!” (Busta Rhymes, 2011)

Busta Rhymes is RIGHT. We as a society do it all too often, take things for granted while it is still here, and as soon as it’s gone, everything changes. But let’s be real, on August 8, 2015, NO ONE was prepared for the tragedy that would strike Hip Hop.

Imperius Rex Cover 3000x3000Sean Price wasn’t a man who had a record of major health issues like say Prodigy with Sickle Cell or Dilla with Lupus. He wasn’t a man we had to keep tabs on. He was a man who despite being loved by his fans from his Heltah Skeltah days all the way to Mic Tyson, he wanted to be acknowledged as just a regular guy who liked to make people laugh, and particularly in his solo career he brought out this mean, Bernie Mac style delivery in his rhymes.

Two years later, Price’s family and Duckdown Records unleash what is believed to be his final album: Imperius Rex, and going by the track listing, think of it as Notorious B.I.G.’s Born Again LP… done properly. Again let’s be real, when Born Again dropped, the tracks on it were a bit hit and miss. Everyone remembers B.I.G.s first two albums. Even now, if you asked the casual fan, they wouldn’t have realised that Faith Evans recently dropped a project called ‘The King & I’, which is a collaboration of tracks performed by her and B.I.G.

APE DON’T KILL APE – P!!

If only Sean did the soundtrack to the Planet of the Apes film, how wonderful would that be? We are not trying to hear what he and wife Bernadette do in the bedroom – we want to hear that out-of-order and bright delivery he is renowned for on the album’s title track produced by Alchemist! He’s not Martin Luther, he’s the man who punches through school buses!

The album’s second video – ‘Dead or Alive’ boasts that Wu-Tang Production in 4th Disciple and features his wife in the hook. Who would have thought she was nice on the mic like that? At the same time, why do we act surprised? This track goes hard. If your face isn’t screwed up at this point, ready to kick down racists, stop reading this review now. This album is not for you!

P! continues his ‘Shawn Carter is nice but Sean Price is the best’ bravado on ‘Definition of a God’. Here P! proves his point way ahead of his time – 4:44 is a nice album but it’s been under debate and controversy since it dropped, and maybe the album achieved it’s purpose, but only three tracks in and the impact of Imperius Rex has already hit home faster than Jay making it back from ‘Becky’s house.

Many would believe that Sean was indeed a ‘Ape in his Apex’ at time of his passing. Over a MF DOOM sounding beat, actually produced by Crummie Beats, Ruste Juxx would concur, to the point where he believes he laid down one of his best verses in his career here, even playfully reveal P! as his ghostwriter.

‘Apartheid’ sees hints of reggae roots seep through and Buckshot defining what Hip Hop heaven is: “If Ruck don’t like you, Buck don’t like you/Ruck down, buck down, what a n!&&@ might do/Black moonwalk on ’em, rest in peace to Michael
R.I.P. Phife from Tribe, he in the light too/Hip-hop heaven, you see seven, that’s the god
All praises due to Allah, sun, moon, star…”

This along with ‘Lord Have Mercy’ may or may not show examples of unfinished tracks which P! started and Rim P & Vic Spencer finished, such as the ‘Born Again’ theory suggests.

‘Negus’ sees Hip Hop’s favourite supervillians combine their force and form a deadly alliance: Imperius Rex & MF DOOM featuring Ike Eyes. This is also appears on Adult Swim’s the Missing Notebook Rhymes in which DOOM releases a new track every Monday (At time of this review).

What hurts fake thugs/road man worse than being punched through pizza shop windows? Taking a knife to their Nike air bubble, as Sean demonstrates in Church Bells featuring Junior Reid. And Sean is right – I have seen such guys over the years enter Foot Locker and cause an argument with the staff because they want a refund from their Nike TNs after they splashed in the puddle wearing them after a day.

RUCKUS IN A P MINOR

This is an album highlight and a half, and on an even bigger scale because of Prodigy. Only Styles P can tell this story of how it came about. The 3 Lyrical Ps is Hip Hop History. Hard hitting lyrics over  haunting deliberate sonics. This is sure-fire on every DJ’s best of 2017 playlist when the year is said and done.

Imperius Rex tracklist

NOT97 is a crazy parody of how Funk Flex and Hot 97 acts, and well deserved, because Flex’s comments about 2Pac as of late has not made him a likeable man. It also painfully reminds us that we may never see visual sketches that P! likes to do every now and then going forward. That aspect of him specifically will be sorely missed.

Omarion’s Ice Box has nothing on Refrigerator P! Yes he jumped on the remix of Girl with Destiny’s Child, he has shown ‘love’ on Heartburn and ‘I Love You B!tch’, but that’s the closest you are gonna get to P! going full-blown R&B: “Never catch P on the girl song
I smack sh!t out your “We Are the World” song/Get a hater scary
My defense intense Refrigerator Perry!”

Freeway admits he is a ‘Prisoner’ to this rap, but he and Sean are out to ‘Bea Smith’ the game over a Marco Polo beat. Then in ‘Resident Evil’,  P! comes with lyrics that would make Capcom proud and even Eminem drop his jaw: “Rape an atheist ’til the bitch say, “our father”/Hail Mary/Brenda Had a Baby
Threw the baby out the window, now Brenda is going crazy”!

If that was any other artist, for the sake of argument – Jay- who said that same lyric, Hip Hop fans would be up in arms and adding on to his illuminati accusations.

FANS PRAYERS ANSWERED

Call it posse cut of the year. After wishes and petitions, a true Boot Camp Clik/Wu-Tang Clan track has come true in the Nottz produced ‘Clans & Cliks’. This is far too epic to not have a video produced for it, or even performed on stage. This is critically acclaimed and well received, one must wonder – are there still unreleased ODB & P! Verses enough to make that joint album we have always wanted?

It is great that the album closes out with Rap Professor which was released exactly a year after his passing, followed by ‘Price’s Family’, which further confirms what was alluded earlier about Sean’s way of life with Bernadette’s few bars which also go impressively hard, along with a fun fact which Bernadette reveals in the interview below…

This is a near perfect album to come out this year. Not because Sean is no longer here in the physical, but I say near perfect because as solid and flawless as it is, there are certain elements us fans wanted which may not be there, for example, some fans wished there was a 9th Wonder beat in there somewhere, a good ol’ Heltah Skeltah duo cut, or in my personal case – a Random Axe cut. Again these are minors, and like Dru-Ha explained in the video above, Bernadette put the body of work together that is Imperius Rex, approving the features, putting verses together, and she did it 100 times better than Puff Daddy did with Born Again – no wait – 1000 times better why? Because Sean Master Flex liked that number. P!

RAEKWON – THE WILD

RELEASE DATE: March 24, 2017, ICEH2O RECORDS/EMPIRE

Written by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U, member of GGO – Ghetto Government Officials and Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition

IN THE LAST EPISODE…

“Usually, the chef will tell their customers, what is in the dish that they prepared for them in detail. Raekwon has done no different in many interviews prior to this album coming out months in advance. So why didn’t Rae’s loyal heads not take heed? While this album has been received well by casual hip hop fans, the hardcore fan base are not so pleased, especially in a time when Raekwon most notably trashed the Wu album – A Better Tomorrow…”

Raekwon The wildThis basically summed up F.I.L.A. Fly International Luxurious Art. I saw what Rae was trying to do. We all did, but I stand by what I said last time. He let his fans know before hand and as a result, the fans let themselves down with their expectations. Rae’s most hardcore fans want the Wu-Tang sound and nothing less. But with RZA’s production sounding more left field as of late, this has led our Wu generals looking elsewhere for beats that will appeal to their fan base.

RZA has handed the Wu keys over to Ghostface Killah if we are to see a new Wu Album, and who is Ghost’s longtime tag team partner? The Chef himself, who has heard the constructive criticism regarding F.I.L.A. and so this is another attempt to fine tune his sound to appeal to loyal fans and new fans. We recently learned that Justice League will be producing on the new Wu Album, and they are featured here on this new project – The Wild, which has no Wu features at all, and dedicated to Mel Carter. With all this in mind, is this an early inkling to what the new Wu Album could sound like?

No messing about, straight into the first single. ‘This Is What It Comes Too’ right? Raekwon is bringing the ferocious flow back over classic drums brought into 2017. A remix has recently surfaced featuring that man who had been gone for 36 Seasons. Now not for ‘Nothing’, Rae comes through with sonics which resemble the Wu-sound. You will not find Kung Fu skits here, but instead you hear parodies based on the real in the form of a guy singing about shorties getting their head right…

Talking of stories based on the real, Rae takes you back to April 2, 1939 with a sure-fire album highlight, sending a tribute to ‘Marvin’ Gaye. The track is a soul drenching winner thanks to the hook supplied by Cee Lo Green. The soulful flow continues on into ‘Can’t You See’. If the listener is not zoned out at this point with a tear in their eye… I don’t think this album is for them.

This is the ‘controversial’ track of the album. Wu-fans worst nightmare has come true in ‘My Corner’. All the Lil’ Wayne hating memes, all the pictures of his album in the toilet or set on fire, has all come to bite Wu-Fans in their backside. The chief hip hop villain joins the Chef here and to make matters even more disturbing, Mr Carter Jr brings his A-Game in his rhymes over a vicious frantic beat because he knew he had no choice against a hostile Wu-audience.

Rae shows a bit of a comedic side to him which you don’t see very often, introducing the ‘F**k You Up Card’, a young kid (whose voice sounds suspiciously like Rae but switched up and we have seen Rae do this sort of thing before – remember Clyde Smith?) puts Rae on to a service where he can get his enemies taken out for a small fee. 02-Andra-Day-wim-crop-bb31-kdln3-billboard-1548

In ‘M&N’, Rae and P.U.R.E. go bar for bar on some Grid Iron Rap style. Then Andra Day provides her vocals on the 2017 dedication to the incarcerated in ‘Visiting Hour’.

‘The Reign’ is Raekwon’s new victory championship belt anthem. the production on this is epic and sounds like Rae raided the Maybach Music studios and put the beats to good use. Then Rae brings more soul and that feel good factor as he puts the ‘Crown of Thorns’ on his head.

G-Eazy looks like a fan whose wish of rhyming with his long time idol come true. He’s on point in ‘Purple Brick Road’ when he states that 20 years from now he would be still rock the purple tape. Go back a bit into the track and the production intensifies in glorious fashion.

However was the Chef being a bit too experimental here? ‘You Hear Me’ sounds out-of-place, could have passed as a bonus track, or a track where Rae edited out the trap artists that may have featured with him. Granted Rae rhymed over the trap sounding beat with ease, it’s not something he should do often, or better still, kept off this album – it really doesn’t suit the body of work which is presented here.

That’s the only mis-step on The Wild, otherwise this is a massive improvement over the last offering. If you imagined Raekwon as a stand alone artist and Wu-Tang did not exist, this is the album that reflects that imagination. Even Lil Wayne’s appearance is not a factor (remember Nas & Damian Marley’s Distant Relatives?) Raekwon has finally hit his stride as far as a non-Wu endorsed offering.

The time is still running on Cuban Linx 3, but for now, this is a nice album to take minds away from the WWE-like nonsense they call ‘beef’ that’s happening currently.

 

 

IRON WIND & PRIMORDIAL EMCEE – PRIMAL WINDS

RELEASE: FEBRUARY 10, 2017, WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GRANT – C.E.O. of RePPiN4U

Eric B & Rakim. EPMD. Havoc & Prodigy. Method Man & Redman. Raekwon & Ghostface. M.O.P. Capone ‘N’ Noreaga. Skyzoo & Torae. Conway & Westside Gunn. Some of the Hip Hop duos that have stood the test of time through the annuls of Hip Hop history.

16523999_10155031520927360_592024729_o

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE ALBUM

Iron Wind, more known for his detailed stories of Feudal Japan in his albums, has once again entered the battlefield, this time bringing along Primordial  a.k.a. District Prime who  won’t hesitate to engage in battle rap and explore the sciences. Having both appeared on each others separate projects, it was only right that the next logical step was to come together for a collaborative album.

2017 sees the pair come together  and become ‘PRIMAL WINDS’ in ‘T.Dot Stand Up’ which takes them both away from their comfort zone, and they are kind enough to bless RePPiN4U with an exclusive advanced copy of the album before it touches down to an iTunes store near you.

The album kicks off with ‘T.Dot Stand Up’ and  it’s their anthem praising the capital of the Maple Leaf country and how the city embraces the true essence of hip hop, and letting the world know that Toronto has been on the map way before he who just wanted ‘One Dance’ and a ‘controller’…

…so with that in mind they turn their attention to those who are ‘trapped in the 90s’ with ‘Bring It Back’, and then bless their ears into 2017 by flipping the sample Pete Rock used for ‘Straighten It Out’ in ‘Our Generation’. My guess is their first track will wind up being a video but this should get the visual treatment too. I believe with this, not only do they have a highlight on their hands, they will attract a wider audience instantly.

The pair remind us that they are just like us normal folk, no different, we gotta pay those ‘Bills’. Four tracks in and I strongly suggest that you go out and support this project. I give these guys props because their track sequence is on point in terms of track titles. Bills

lucy-lovesick

LUCY LOVESICK

need to be paid so they must go ‘On The Grind’ complete with classic scratches used as the hook which are so relevant., and of course, if you are on your grind, and the bills are paid, you can approach the opposite sex with confidence and let her know how she is ‘So Sexy’ over a nice Motown like beat you would hear somebody like the Temptations harmonize over.

Seven tracks in and the realization sets in that this project could be up there with the best of underground projects this year. It’s not easy in the ‘Concrete Jungle’ though. Here you see Primal Winds flowing effortlessly over a sonic which sounds like it should only be played at night while cruising in a convertible.

Primal Winds are very proud of their home of Toronto…however they make it painfully clear that Toronto is not all roses and  green pastures.

primec

PRIMORDIAL

They align themselves with Cuban Pete on the track – ‘City Pulse’, with a backdrop sounding like an episode of CSI giving vivid storytelling on what happens when the sun goes down in Canada’s capital. This is complemented by ‘The Stakes’, where we see the two hit the casino and do just that – raise the stakes on their rhyming skills against any challenger.

‘Tonight’ features the sultry vocals of model Lucy Lovesick who presumably takes the role of ‘Hip Hop’ (as we like to refer to the culture as ‘H.E.R.’) but can also be seen as a double meaning as this sees the two take a slightly smoother approach in the music.

In ‘Making Moves’, the duo will do what it takes to get great reviews. (well almost… they won’t pay you to play their records or threaten to chop your head off or anything like that!) If you are not convinced then see the last review of Iron Wind’s The Warrior Inside on this site. Heads would have realised that this was the next logical chess move for the two emcees.

Die-hard Wu-trainspotters will recognize the beat that’s flipped here in ‘Afterparty’. This is some feel good vibe compared to the grim and awareness the Sunz of Man portrayed in ‘Israeli News’. The album closes out so soulful as the duo give their ‘Ode To Hip Hop’, as they tell their heartfelt stories of their hip hop journey, you cannot help but nod to it in celebration. These guys have a great ear for beats and this project is sure to get regular spins.

16492117_10155031541872360_1519618043_o

THIS IS SWIFT JUSTICE RESTORED TO TORONTO.

This is quality music that shows versatility and a different side to the emcees that we have known to love over the past decade, which is always good because you don’t want 10 albums from the same artist saying the same things and no growth. Stay tuned on RePPiN4U later this year and on our show on www.wild1radio.com as we are sure to be playing these tracks and hearing in more depth from Iron Wind and Primordial.

PURCHASE ALBUM ON BANDCAMP HERE

FOLLOW PRIMORDIAL EMCEE ON TWITTER HERE

FOLLOW IRON WIND ON TWITTER HERE

A TRIBE CALLED QUEST: We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 11, 2016, Epic Records/Sony Music

Review by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U

On this day, we are celebrating  5 years of promoting great music and gaining respect and credibility from fans and artists. To this I could say “We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service”. But we gonna keep going. Trap music? Mumble Rap? Freestyling from smart phones, WE DON’T DO THAT OVER HERE!

So as a celebration, I decided to review this album, which is a celebration of iconic Hip Hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest, when you mention the words Hip Hop, these are the guys that instantly come into people’s minds who define it and are mentioned in the same sentence with groups such as Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, Wu-Tang Clan, De La Soul.

March 22, 2016 was a horrible day to wake up to. Checking your social media has become one of the regular things to do in the morning with brushing your teeth and changing your brief. The loss of Phife Dawg rocked Hip Hop to its foundation and is up there with the losses of Big Pun, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and J Dilla, talking of which, was the first thing on my mind when I heard the news. I remembered Phife’s track ‘Dear Dilla’ which I consider very underrated and slept on. The lyrics in that, looking at it now made me think ‘whoa’… did Phife kinda know he was going? Almost like he dedicated the song to himself?

Hold tight, this ain’t the last time I see you
Due time, that’s my word, I’mma see you
Frontin’ ass rappers now here stealin’ intros
Posin’ like they hard when we know they all see through…” 

actq-new-albumWhile Hip Hop was in mourning for the longest since Sean Price, A Tribe Called Quest reconciled and secretly recorded a comeback album on the back of their recent reunion tour, and two weeks before the allotted release date, they dropped the bomb on us. Yes, half of admitted to be skeptical after the blemish that was ‘The Love Movement’, the rest of us were praising the most high that in the midst of this ‘mumble rap’ era, an album would come along to take us away from all that and take us back to the days of Midnight Mauraders. This is their first album after 18 years, and their ‘true’ final album. Have they gone out in a bang? Or will The Love Movement be the last image that fans will be forced to remember through the ages?

As you hit play on your iTunes (or in my case, CD which I highly recommend you do) you are instantly reminded of why you love ATCQ in the first place. ‘The Space Program’ does just that. You are glad that throughout the history, they finally made something happen here.

‘We The People’ is insanely amazing. The art of the Hip Hop anthem has not been forgotten… when this drop in a party or in a car – THAT’S A WRAP. What’s better, it could not have come at a better time in Trump’s America with Q-Tip’s tongue in cheek humor with the hook, while Phife brings a scathing verse.

The niceness continues will ‘Whateva Will Be’. So far J Dilla is up there smiling and thinking -‘my boys have done it again’ with the Nairobi Sister’s Promised Land sample, where the subject matter of social injustice and Trump’s America continue.

It’s from here now that ATCQ begin to diverse their music whilst keeping it them. A collaboration with Elton John would be the last thing on hip hop heads minds, but when you have been in the game as long as these guys, your exploration of music will branch out. Here a returning Bussa Bus appears in  a ‘Solid Wall Of Sound’ in his outta order Jamaican persona, it makes for a very interesting track for listeners to absorb a bit more than the first three tracks previous. It serves as a great intro  however to ‘Dis Generation’ where we see the whole tribe minus Consequence going line for line. Their diverse direction starts to ring the ears of Andre 3000 who comes through in ‘Kids’, blending in nicely like he’s part of the tribe too. The way he and Q-Tip describe the way we want our kids to believe something when in reality it’s harder to explain the harsh facts.

In ‘Melatonin’, Q-Tip goes for dolo while Abbey Smith provide extra vocals. great track but I strongly advise NOT to use the drug as it’s design is to help people who have trouble sleeping, and this is a project that 7 tracks in, should NOT be slept on.

I like the fact that ATCQ have maintained some nostalgic elements, like in ‘Enough!!’ The classic instruments used in ‘Bonita Applebum’ are brought back here to continue to please their long time fans and attract new fans in the process. This is one of those tracks that will become a favourite in the long-term after several listens. I also like te fact that ATCQ treated the project as if it was released some 20,25 years ago by including a ‘Side A’ and a ‘Side B’ in the project. Consequence kicks the B Side off with ‘Mobius’, but it’s Busta Rhymes who runs away with this one, channelling his inner Woo-Hah!! into the track! Very interesting how the rest of the tribe stand back and let these two go in, making it sound like ATCQ 2.0.

snl-a-tribe-called-quest-busta

Just as Bussa Bus tore up Mobius, Phife Dawg puts mumble rappers on blast in ‘Black Spasmodic’: “Trash rap the dead, pu$$y kill the chirping/No more f**k boys, sit down, sh!t can only get worse/And how do you touch mic with flows uncertain?
Speak game dry, boy, that flow ain’t workin’/Folks throwin’ items, them vex and cursin’
F**k made me wanna see these n!&&@$ in person?” Consider it the preparations for the ‘Killing Season’, which brings Talib Kweli and Kanye West into the mix, who thankfully for you hip hop purists has been relegated to just the hook. Also it’s great how they showcased Jarobi & Consequence here.

“Have you ever loved somebody?
Way before you got to dream?
No more crying, he’s in sunshine
He’s alright now, see his wings…”

Another track I consider a growing gem outside the obvious favourites is this one right here – ‘Lost Somebody’, where their expressions for their loss in Phife Dawg becomes very moving.

Even though ATCQ have moved forwards with their music, they decide to try ‘Movin Backwards’ one time and bring Anderson Paak with them. Here Jarobi throws shots at Fetty Wap and all the trap lords, leading by example set by Phife. Then Kendrick chimes in for a memorable, Source Hip Hop Quotable quality verse in Conrad Tokyo while Phife expresses his disdain for the presidential election. Imagine if he actually saw the results in the physical.

‘Ego’ sees Q-Tip going for dolo once again, bringing more nostalgic sounds into it provided by musician Jack White. Great to see him use the wordplay and break down various forms of Ego, even onto himself: “Ego make you violent or govern like a tyrant/Or switch a dictionary’s word from vibrant to vivrant/Fool the thirsty people, selling tap water in bottles/Fooled a girl with NYU scholarship and now she models
Ego has no ending, has people pretending/Religious zealots get jealous ’cause guys want their defending…”

Finally, ‘The Donald’. Which is a unique tribute to Phife which features the Trini Gladiator in his own ode. Salute the man known as Don Juice.

…And Phife Dawg is still not dun! His final solo album will be touching down in our stores sometime next year and that will be even more anticipated than ever now. Let’s keep it 100 – when his first solo dropped, not many of us noticed, all eyes were still on Q-Tip.

A part of me doesn’t want A Tribe Called Quest to end even though they can say they have on a great note. A part of me wants Consequence and Busta to become official and be ATCQ 2.0. They have successfully erased the lasting image The Love Movement had and crafted an album we never saw coming and were given just 2 weeks notice to prepare. 2016 has been a surprise year for the Native Tongues, when just a few months prior, De La Soul blessed us with new music too. Special mention to Busta Rhymes who really went in with this project, making both Dilla and Phife proud, an reminding us of how versatile he really is. While I personally would give the Album Of The Year award to Common, ATCQ is also worth deserving because of the story behind it.

TAKE A BOW GUYS, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

DJ DONOR: MY KINDA HIP HOP MIXTAPE

Too many people are on your social media are talking about Kanye West Sacramento rant. Too many people are on your social media are talking about Lil Yachty acting a fool. Too many people on your social media are worrying about who is the top 10 MCs on a list that my-kinda-hip-hop-mixtapehas been made viral… it’s a sad sight, it really is. Hip Hop in social media is anaemic right now and it needs a transfusion, and that’s where DJ Donor comes in.

The Wu-Tang Coalition DJ from the Netherlands is here to give his blood type to you in the form of his latest mixtape “My Kinda Hip Hop” which is an hour of the hottest tracks over the past year (Look out for the RePPiN4U 2016 mixtape coming soon by myself and DJ Miss C Brown – Cheap plug but it’s not because I pay those bills…) he is so established, mingling with the likes of Onyx and Mr Funke of Lords of the Underground that Pelle Pelle, Hercules and Saucony are proud sponsors.

Check out the mixtape here after the jump…

dj-donor

Allow this man to donate some good Hip Hop into your veins! Follow him on twitter – @DonorDj

Check out the official website HERE

You can also access the mixtape via these links:

Audiomack:    

http://www.audiomack.com/song/dj-donor/my-kinda-hiphop-mixtape

DatPiff:    

http://piff.me/74b5d2b