Rhythm And Prose: Meth, Ghost, & Rae - "Wu-Massacre" Review

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Wu-Massacre is easily the most hyped rap album of the year so far. Between awesome artwork, some creative trailers, and the reunion of the wu-tang Clan's three most personable rappers, it's guaranteed to be a good album. The real question is, "how good"? Given the catalog Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, it's easy for Wu-Massacre to be a letdown. That's exactly the trap Meth, Ghost and Rae fall into: They've made a good album that's never as great as it could be.

From the beginning, Wu-Massacre impresses with the sheer talent of the rappers involved. As soon as Ghostface Killah opens on "Criminology 2.5," it's clear no punches are being held back. Meth, Ghost and Rae are all in top form, tossing threats, insults and boasts around like it was still 1995. Method Man easily stands out; he finds his comfort zone in group efforts, and Wu-Massacre is no exception. He raps with the same effortless energy and vitality that's made him a superstar, never off-beat and always mastering the tempo of the song.

You see the dear head on the living room wall? Like his neck fell off?
That can be yours - sculptured and glazed with gloss (Ghosface, "Criminology 2.5")

Of course, Raekwon and Ghostface aren't to be outdone; all three of them turn in great performances. Of the three, Raekwon seems the most out of place here, as if the album is a little too fast for him. Otherwise, it's standard wu-tang fare; the raps are both hard and creative, and the album drips with personality and wit. Even the skits are funny, with "Ya Moms Skit" being the highlight.

There aren't any star guests (Inspectah Deck is the only other Wu member that shows up), but that's not really a flaw with this group. Meth, Ghost and Rae are a show all on there own, and while they don't have as much chemistry as you might expect ("Meth Vs. Chef 2" notwithstanding), they contrast each other really well. They spit some of the most entertaining raps you'll ever hear, and Ghostface's decapitation punchlines alone are worth the price of admission.

Lyrics: 12/15

Ever since Wu-Tang Forever, the beats have been the weakest part of wu-tang album. That's also where Wu-Massacre comes up short. The beats aren't bad so much as uninspiring. The album opens with a trio of wu-tang throwback beats that only serve to remind us how great their production used to be. There are some standouts - lead single "Our Dreams" might stick out, but it's laid back chimes and sped-up vocals actually work really well.

Fuck a role model, never had one to follow
Lots of cotton-mouth rappers, I'm a hard one to swallow
Here's another hard one to goggle - fuck your life, that's the motto (Method Man, "Gunshowers")

The problem is the Wu-Massacre production doesn't really establish a great atmosphere. It works on its own - the beats pound pleasantly, and are a good support for the main show. But compared to the usual production standards these guys have, it falls far short.

But I digress. None of the beats are bad, and they do well as a pure support for the rapping. On the rare case that they're at all creative, they work really well: "Dangerous" sports a nice skipping drum with a slow bassline that lets them all go off. It's easily the best song on the album, and a scary hint at what could've been. Over the course of the album, though, the lightly thumping basslines and uncreative instrument loops can get pretty old.

Music: 13/20

So I resort to the penBut at the same time, avoiding the pin
And now its game time, nigga you in?
You better thicken your skin (Method Man, "Dangerous")

Wu-Massacre is one big venue for Meth, Ghost and Rae to talk shit. It serves absolutely no other purpose. The problem is that they're not really animated enough for that to be the main draw. They're really good at it, don't get me wrong. But there are 10 other mixtape rappers who are just as entertaining and funny, and they're hungrier. You can tell when listening to Wu-Massacre that you're listening to established rap veterans, and that's not really a good thing. They just don't have the hunger to make a great album based entirely on braggadocio anymore.

read on...

Mood: 3/5

Most modern rap albums are bloated affairs - full of mainstream concession songs, celebrity guests and mediocre fill-ins. That's one thing you can't say about Wu-Massacre - at just 30 minutes long, it's hardly a real album. That works both ways: it's not a lot of content, but there's no wasted space and not a lot of time to get bored. There are 10 songs of vicious, witty rapping. Few hooks, no frills; just 30 minutes of throwback, old school hip hop.

Consistency: 4/5

Wu-Massacre's biggest flaw is that its one of the weakest albums that any of these artists have been involved with. That its still a good album in its own right says more about Meth, Ghost and Rae than it does about the album. Still, it's a fun album that will no doubt be refreshing to any wu-tang fan. For anybody else, it just depends on how much you like raw, throwback and witty hip hop.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Comments (1) Add Comment
written by Kahllil J on April 04, 2010

ok I dont think this is a good stablishment of thought since most of the review was about praises I wouldnt condem it with a 3.5, maybe a 4 but from what I read, this review contraddicts itself praising them on rhymes, beats and mood, I dunno, it seems the reviewer is not listening to his own words and just put a low score based on not being weak.

I do miss sometimes the cinematic beats that used to come as well as the kung fu flicks that used to be sampled all over the original wu-tang albums. I also miss a more asiatic influenced naming and recognition in general, classic beats from the original Ironman could be re-recicled all just bring the original mood of ice cream from the OB4CL would also be landmarking
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