All right. This song is growing on me. It's just so expertly done in every facet. And the video helps. It's exactly what it should it be. (Justin Timberlake eats cereal while Jay-Z watches basketball. They're just like us!) Which is all totally what you'd expect. Immaculate execution, carefully engineered for maximum possible popular appeal. Which points to the problem, too, of course. "But he don't know the meaning of dope," said GZA, complaining about a honkey A&R executive on the Wu-Tang's "Protect Ya Neck." "When he's looking for a suit-and-tie rap that's cleaner than a bar of soap!"
The artwork for the long-gestating collaboration between the Wu-Tang Clan and The Lox (a.k.a. "D-Block") is a strong addition to the list of American-flag themed hip-hop album covers. I like it! (Though, as might have been expected, it looks like some red paint has been spilled in the printing process.) The first single from the album, which comes out next month, is called "Stick Up Kids." Lox MC Sheek Louch and the Wu's Ghostface Killah always sound good together on records. Their voices share an adenoidal whine that bestows an emotional element so often lacking in rap.
Everywhere You Look: The Eerie Correspondences Between Members Of The Wu-Tang Clan And The Characters Of "Full House"
In November 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan released its seminal debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). At the time, the show "Full House," then in its seventh season, was still dominant in the ratings. What similarities could possible exist between the '90s most saccharine sitcom and its most respected group of gangsta rappers? More than you might expect. Despite their superficial differences, these are essentially two makeshift families struggling to make do in America; two casts of eccentrics that inexplicably gel to form a cohesive unit. Let's further explore the complexities that link the West Coast Tanners and the East Coast Wu, revealing them as two sides of the same [...]
Of course I enjoyed this collection of "12 Wu-Tang Ws in Strange Places." Who wouldn't? Despite the fact that we've seen a few of them before (the deservedly famous pizza is there). But this one here, of meatloaf with ketchup baked into the shape, should not be captioned "Wuloaf." It should be called "Streetloaf." And Wu-Tang associate MC Streetlife should write a verse about it. Over a track that samples that Roxy Music.
Wu-Tang Clan founder the RZA always sounds like he has cotton balls stuffed in nostrils. But in a good way. He also always has something interesting to say. Here, in a snippet from an interview he did at last weekend's Splash! Festival in Germany, he talks about how sometimes dictatorship is better than democracy. The interviewer starts to look a little nervous. Now here's a video mash-up that makes it look Adolf Hitler is performing Notorious B.I.G.'s "Live Freestyle '95."
I remember people saying, back when the recession started, one good thing that could maybe come out of it was it could save music from its dismal state. Not the music industry, which was already pretty much doomed whatever happened, but music itself. Because of the commonly held belief that bad times make for good music. I guess because of the famously fertile early '70s? That is probably my favorite musical era. But maybe that's because that's when I was born. Do people have a built-in preference for the music that was made around the time they were? Do the first sounds we hear, even before we're fully conscious [...]
Self-professed recovering video-game addict the RZA (a.k.a. Prince Rakeem, The Abbot, Bobby Digital, Bobby Steels, the RZArector, Ruler Zig-zag-zig Allah, etc.) tells his sons, "If it was up to me… You wanna make me happy? Four hours of video games a day is enough."
David Letterman REALLY liked the dress that Alicia Keys wore on his show last night. I think she looked liked a bee. She would not be the first pop star to look like one!
Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.
The longish story shorter about how I came to lose cable around the time I entered high school is that I was screwing up. Not in any sort of way that would alter my permanent record, or was anything but suburban and toothless and play-acty. I was tanking my classes and baiting my teachers, refining my basketball skills—without much improving my NBA draft stock, in retrospect—to the exclusion of any other kind of self-improvement and shoplifting stupid eighth-grader things like baseball hats and basketball cards and used CD's. There was disapproval from across the dinner table, strange threats [...]
"The Wu-Tang W isn't just the most iconic hio-hop artist logo of the past 20 years, it's also proven to be the most alphabetically versatile. Depending on the Wu swordsman for whom it requires use, we've seen the W take turns as a "G" for GZA, and "M" for Method Man, and "M" and "K" for Master Killa, an admittedly rather awkward "INS" and "E" for Inspectah Deck, even a "U" for U-God. Yes, even U-God gets his own specialized version of the Wu-Tang symbol. If that's not what you call a logo that goes above and beyond the call of duty, we don't know what is." —Complex [...]
In what at first seems like the oddest of pairings, but then starts to make a perfect type of record-collector-geek sense when you think about it a minute, the great and recently rediscovered Chicago soul master Syl Johnson will play a special Hanukkah concert with the wonderful indie-rock heroes Yo La Tengo on Saturday at Maxwell's in Hoboken, which is kind of like Yo La Tengo's basement.
Last week, HBO put out a promotional video for their vampire series True Blood that featured Snoop Dogg rapping about the show's characters. (I liked it. Not everybody did.) Now the great Port Arthur, Texas-based MC Bun B has recorded a rap over the instrumental track from Outkast's "ATLiens" in celebration of the seventh anniversary of the Japanese clothing company Lafayette.
Bummer. Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon opted against "Three Wus Three 57 Trip Pyramid 3 A charm 3 U 3 Scales," instead naming their group the more mundane "Meth, Ghost & Rae." Oh, well. At least the album cover sufficiently caters to their middle-aged fan base's collective inner-thirteen-year-old. Wu-Massacre is out on March 30th. In other disappointing rap news: Bronald Oil & Gas, the Cash Money Millionaires' green energy company? Bloomberg looked into it and it seems that, thus far at least, the company exists primarily in the tattoo on Baby's head.
So Britain's NME reports that Kanye West is going to an ashram in Pondicherry (such a pretty name for a city, and one that would also make a nice title for a slack dancehall tune) for a month of meditative recuperation after his embarrassing outburst at last month's MTV Video Awards. (Did you happen to hear about that?) This could be very good.
Every rap act should be lucky enough to have the Roots back them live. (Whose drums thump like Questlove's?!) Last night, Wu-Tang Clan was. I've been enjoying the soundtrack to RZA's The Man With the Iron Fists this week. But not as much as I enjoy the soundtrack he made for Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai back in 1999. If you've never listened to that, you should check it out. It's the sound of a musical mastermind throwing a party, inviting a bunch of friends over, recording it, and editing together the good parts. Like a Wu-Tang version of James Brown's Funky People [...]
“Rap culture is interesting and different and has purpose, but it has a nonromantic view of life and of social feelings. There may be a void in that.” —Hal David, who wrote "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" and about a million other songs you know whether you want to or not with his partner Burt Bacharach, had a pretty clear-eyed take on hip-hop. (Though I would argue that rap's antiromance goes towards its interestingness and differentness. And that, as much as it may signal a void, it has done us a service in counterbalancing, even just a little bit, the vast preponderance of overly romantic, "breakup-and-makeup" love [...]
It's distinctly creepy, this ad about Braddock, Pennsylvania and how a long time ago, things got broken there and "people got sad and left…" And not just because of the quasi-spiritual, quasi-Soviet sloganeering, and not just because of the questionable politics behind a corporate giant turning a depressed town and its inhabitants into marketing mascots. (And that can cut both ways. Braddock seems to be honestly benefitting.) No, it's something else, it's about the voice-over.
His Wu-Tang Clan will be performing their 1993 debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) this summer on the annual Rock the Bells rap tour. (Only four shows this year, though: New York, L.A., San Francisco and D.C.) But for now, Raekwon is back on a track produced by BT, who made the beats for "Return of the North Star" and "Penitentiary" from last year's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… 2. Also, look at this Wu-Tang pizza someone made.
The Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah, Raekwon the Chef and Method Man are currently working as a trio. The album is due soon, but they've yet to decide on a name for the group. So Ghostface has gone to his MySpace page and asked fans for suggestions, promising a shout-out in the liner notes to anyone who might come up with a winner. My favorites up so far are "three wus three 57 trip pyramid 3 a charm 3 u 3 scales," as suggested by MR. M. AZAR A.K.A BIG T PRODUCTIONS. (I think Mr. M might have omitted some punctuation, and perhaps intended that to be four [...]