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Wu-Tang - Legendary Weapons7/26/2011
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Wu-Tang
Legendary Weapons

Wu -Tang can hardly tarnish their reputation at this point. They have proven to be, perhaps, the most powerful group in hip hop music, and the majority of MCs within the Clan have proven their solo abilities as well. In the past, criticism generally included some sort of attack on their signature sound, how they couldn’t step beyond the Shaolin boundaries and make more generalized rap music. Those critics were silenced by various efforts from different artists within the group, once again proving themselves to have immense versatility on projects like Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture, RZA’s Afro Samurai, Blakroc, and various collaborations and unexpected hits from several members within the group. At this point in the article, you may be expecting me to explain how unsatisfying or disappointing their newest compilation, Legendary Weapons is, but you are mistaken. The record is in fact, very, very dope.

However, they must be tired of working outside of their comfort zone, because the Asian-influenced, classic RZA-esque production is employed throughout the album, but no one should be complaining. There are enough factors within the album to separate the release from any old Wu-Tang record. First of all, the guest spots are top rank as far as underground MCs go. Verses from AZ, Roc Marciano, MOP, Action Bronson, and Termanology are all premium cuts. Action Bronson, who has made a career while sounding eerily similar to Ghostface Killah, almost out-Ghosts the man himself. The two share the track “Meteor Hammer,” with Termanology, and if this track isn’t considered some of the best raw hip hop in the last decade, then I’m not sure what is. Termanology may seem like the underdog of the triplet of artists but his verse is most definitely the strongest. His delivery is combative and exhilarating, gradually getting rougher as his verse progresses. “When I step up in the spot with the rock you see the popular pop rappers go into their pocket and pull out their wallet when I click clack, now. Get up on the ground, cuz I Onyx-Pete-Rock-Chuck-D shut em’ down. You know Term, I’m the kid with the Preme beats, Butter Pecan J-Lo with the mean cheeks.”

Sadly, there are no other tracks that achieve the level of hardcore-ness that they seem to be striving for, but that is not to say there are no other great tracks. The song “Legendary Weapons,” could have been a radio hit in ’94. Ghostface, AZ, and M.O.P. fill the verse slots and do so with surprising vigor and youthfulness. Perhaps it is just by comparison to other rappers from the golden age who are still churning out worthless crap, but the rappers on “Legendary Weapons” sound comfortable yet aggressive on a soft, stringed-out, classic Wu-style beat.

In traditional Method Man style, he outdoes everyone on the beat he graces, which is called “Diesel Fluid.” Most might say it is not difficult to out-rap Trife Diesel and Cappadonna, but the fashion in which Method does so is like watching Real Madrid play the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy are a great team, but that doesn’t mean the authentic Europeans didn’t school the American boys without lifting their feet. Meth raps “Now I don’t slip when I’m down in the dirt, cuz by this time I done seen life and figured the amount that it’s worth. It’s the first, cops looking for work. Got my niggas all cuffed up, sweating like a hooker in church.”

Other tracks to be noted include “Start the Show”, an aggressive funk attack complete with fantastic percussion and unparalleled verses from Raekwon and RZA. Another dope track is “Laced Cheeba”, which demands to be played with the bass turned all the way up in an Escalade somewhere. The track is also produced in the classic Wu Tang style, featuring quick guitar strums accompanied by ringing guitar notes and ride cymbal, and of course some prime Kung Fu film sound clips.

It’s no 36 Chambers, but Legendary Weapons is much more gratifying than say Iron Flag, or 8 Diagrams. It’s great to see that these rappers still care about the group that made them who they are, the same group that they obviously do not need anymore. The absence of GZA is felt, as his bare-bones, rugged style would have been much appreciated over one of the throwback beats on the record, but the given verses are plenty satisfactory, as is the production. Though they stay in familiar territory this time, there’s no place like home.

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