i'm finally gonna tackle this one...
this is Part 3.0 of the Bob Digi Saga/Digital Odyssey where i'm reviewing all the Rza albums and just basically waxing on the merits and demerits of the diversion into Digi-ness...the other parts can be found here
i'll try to keep this one shorter and it's an album that's alot less interesting than the previous ones so i'll probably succeed...
the album cover is awesome..certainly a different approach than the Digital albums and we're now given what seems like a strictly "RZA" album as shown on the front...but what u see is definitely not what u get, the pose he's in implies that we're getting some deep journey into the great mind of the Abbott but instead it's really a thrown-together jumble of flashes of brilliance and an abundance of BULL SHIT...
i don't mean to set a negative tone for the review but this is really a huge fall from his previous LPs which were a classic and solid-banger, respectively...
with this album i feel like he really didn't put too much time (if any) into the actual putting together of the tracklist and mixture of songs, it's almost like he reached a point where he said "i've got a bunch of joints..some good, some whack but enough to fill up a disc..Let's make some cash!"...As the guy in the first post said, it was announced only about a month before it was released and I figure he couldn't devote too much time to this album while doing all the work he did for Kill Bill...
but it's bright spots are very bright, and it also does feature the Wu debut of the almighty Bronze Nazareth..
1. Bob N' I
(prod by Choco)
i love the opening to this album, it's absolutely beautiful..the sample was so hard to find for years and then it finally popped up on here
the Intro sorta perfectly sums up the entire album cuz for me it feels like Rza is just confused and all over the place on this LP; he's got some beautiful shit but he can't stop throwing in the bullshit...
it's funky and fun but i really don't care for the song on here, the be-bop shit...and above all, it's a huge drop-off from the deep smoothness of the opening sample..
(altho i will say the end is kinda funny how his voice repeats like crazy)
2. The Grunge
a pretty nice beat for a Digital album, repetitive as fuck but still cool... i gotta say tho: i really don't feel the lyrics on this joint at all...just way too simple-minded and bullshitty, no originality like he had all over the previous Digital albums...this is where he's pretty much turned Bobby Digital completely into a gimmick..this ain't Unspoken Word no more
3. We Pop ft Division
(prod. by Megahertz)
straight up whackness...
the beat is fuckin horrible, one of the worst beats to ever appear on a Wu-related album probably..
and Division is just.....i'm speechless
extra track at the end "Hood Rats":
a NICE sample bumped mad funky and fast and Bobby flows great over it....i have no idea who Erica Bryant is but she spits 3 or 4 nice bars..
doesn't really deserve a rating cuz it's like 45 seconds long..
4. Grits ft Allah Real and Masta Killa
I know this a joint that can be appreciated and bumped by not just the Wu fans cuz it surpasses the Wu borders and most music fans would probably enjoy the simple, melodic guitar beat and the smooth singing...
i'm not that big a fan of this song tho..
Rza is ok on it and Masta Killa is actually great on it but then the singing just goes on for a while and the beat plays by itself for long enough that i get annoyed by it.....i know plenty of ppl will disagree with me but i give it only a:
5. Fast Cars ft Ghostface
(prod by True Master)
BANGER...True Mizza-Master on the triz-nack with a sick beat, playing that rusty piano with all kinds of other sounds poppin off in the background..
what pisses me off is that he could've made an entire album with tracks sounding as nice as this one and the Bronze joints but instead this album is an uncomfortable-to-listen-through mish-mash of greatness and absolute bullshit..
again this beat is just terrific, i love the tempo of it and Rza spits nicely on it ending by declaring his zodiac sign (the same as mine): Cancer..
and then Ghost makes a DOPE appearance...it's just a great song all around, even the chorus is cool...
6. Chi Kung ft Beretta 9
(produced by Barracuda)
a very nice Oriental-sounding beat with Rza spittin out nice darts using a scratchy voice..
"i dropped outta school, i went to the
College of Self and i pertained my wealth"
the chorus is kinda stupid but doesn't really ruin the song and B9 spits a very ill verse...he really improved himself since he first came in with Killarmy as a teenager
and again, the beat is nice, it's the cat Origin who appeared on a few of the Ten Tigers of Kwantung tracks with Moongod and Cilva...
dope track overall
7. You'll Never Know ft Cilvaringz
i always fuckin loved this joint...the drums on this track are so perfect and even tho i was MAD disappointed when i first heard the album and saw that Rza had to change the sample from the original one which had the Beatles sample, the beat still rings nicely and absolutely BAAAANGS in the whip with a nice system...
(i remember visiting my friend at UNC last year and i'm in his car with him driving around this quaint college town in Chapel Hill and all of the sudden this song comes on he rolls all the windows down and just blasts this....i was high outta my mind and loving it)
this is, IMO, Rza's best lyrical output on the entire album..his lyrics are ferocious and he spits hard and hungry (and a cousin Billy reference!!)...
and i especially love the last line of his 2nd verse that he added in for the newly-reformed version of this track...
"And i love you like the Pharaoh loved Joseph, the Jew loved Moses
like a man bendin down on one knee before he proposes.
Express the faith of Abraham about to slay Isaac,
and the patience of Daniel in the lion's den with close eye lids...."
how he can have a lyric as nice as that and then a song like the one following this one on the tracklist is mind-boggling...and the reason why this is such a frustrating and poorly-constructed album
Cilva keeps it up very well i must say but before i knew who it was that was rapping i was always perplexed by the line: "I never smoke blunts, tote weight nor bust shots--but fuck with me i guarantee u get your neck chopped"....it just came across as gay to me...
8."Drink, Smoke + Fuck"
good lord...it's funny cuz the album booklet doesn't even bother including the lyrics to this song because this it is just a terrible song...
this is the kinda song that u can only appreciate at a time when you're extremely drunk and you have the album playing over n over in the background somewhere n this song comes on and you're just like "WTF was he thinking?" and laugh about it...
9. The Whistle ft Masta Killa and Prodigal Sunn
I went to a San Diego Padres game almost 2 years ago with my brother and when Khalil Greene came up this beat came on and i was like "holy shit....wait is this--" and then i heard the "digital digital" and was immediately a big fan of Greene...
it's the first i ever heard any athlete use any Wu song as their theme...(i remember making a thread about it way back then but i don't feel like diggin it up)
anyways, i like this song alot..the sample is dope. Rza really picked alotta nice samples for this album, i would guess it's cuz it was made around the same time he was doing the music for the Kill Bill movies so he was digging all in the crates constantly and finding these dope records...
Prodigal Sunn murders this song..he's always been mad underrated but he comes correct on just about every verse and always with an ill flow
10. The Drop Off ft Division
again, i dono how the hell he can intermingle songs like this one with the likes of Day to God is 1000 Years and Fast Cars...this song is HORRIBLE, no matter what kinda rap you like..
11. Wherever I Go ft Allah Real and Division
the beat is pretty damn simple and WEAK and (yay!) more Division!! Free Murda needs to get a city job or somethin...he's should be a garbage man, he does not belong on a mic
Rza does spit kinda nice and like he gives a shit but the song would make u believe otherwise...
i guess this is why so many ppl talk about how BOAP was supposed to be where Rza breaks away from the Bobby Digital character and starts to go back to the wisdom and shit...
but this skit is whack...the acting is horrible and i don't get what he's trying to get to cuz this album has stupidity all over it (and the gimmicky version Bob Digi is alive and well and about to release another album)
we'll hear more from these two characters again later..
12. Koto Chotan ft Masta Killa and Tash Mahogany
i like the beat alot, it's spun very well and Rza and Masta Killa both flow dope over it...
the girl on it is straight whack though...she sounds mad nervous and she just don't belong spittin on a nice song like this but why care? By this time we've already heard Division take over 3 (!!!) tracks...
13. A Day to God is 1,000 Years
(prod by BRONZE NAZARETH)
here it is....the commercial debut of the precocious young Wu beatsmith..
there was an appreciation thread for this song where i wrote a huge post so i'll quote that instead of saying more of the same:
Originally Posted by the silencer
from the first time i heard this joint, i was just blown away. It was the best Rza song i had heard in ages and IMO it was definitely the absolute best song on the entire BOAP album..
like dude in quote below me said, i had thought it was a Rza beat for so long and, with that in mind, i felt Rza still had it in him to make those deeply beautiful beats...matter of fact i felt like he had even gotten BETTER as a producer after hearing this beat..
but this song was actually my own introduction to Bronze cuz when i first noticed in the booklet (after probably like 6 months to a year of thinking it was Rza) that it's credited to "Bronze Nazareth" i had to just
to this until-then-unknown brother for this incredible piece of production--as well as The Birth's amazing beat..
Originally Posted by Buzk
def one of my favourite rza tracks, beat is crazy, was disapointed when i heard he didnt produce it himself
you said that "It is heavily sampled by Bronze, but it's a good find, and was done well. "
well i agree that it was heavily sampled and i also feel like sometimes producers can OVER-sample on a beat or just over-do the beat...but this beat to me is the absolute pinnacle of making a hip hop beat with a sample, THIS is what it's supposed to sound like....i can play this beat for anyone, no matter what kinda music they like, and it will touch them, it'll strike u in the heart at some point (for me it was in the part between the 2 verses)...
in interviews Bronze has said (and Kevlaar said this too) that their music is all about feeling, trying to evoke a feeling of some sort from the listener...this beat and also The Birth do that to the highest degree. I've seen ppl often times on this site condemn the soul-sampling technique for making beats--i personally love it...aside from that, if u can do it RIGHT and strike the correct notes then it comes out sounding beautiful just like this..and i've come to realize that Bronze Nazareth is an absolute master at doing this, recognizing that short little cut from a soul song that, when chopped correctly and melodically repeated in a hip hop beat, can strike a chord within the listener and make his brain tingle and heart bubble.....and i still am of the opinion that this beat is the best i've ever heard from Bronze...and i'm dying to hear more like it..
now, with all of that said, the lyrics.......
you might call me crazy (or maybe way too into Bronze) but after many listens to this song, i've come to feel that Rza didn't do justice to it...the beat totally outshines the verses..
hear me out here because i'm one of the biggest Rza fans in this place...
aside from a bunch of nice-sounding lines and a couple well-delivered metaphors, the lyrics were weak...it sounded like Rza was really TRYING to spit some wisdom as opposed to when he was in the Gravedigga years and he can just vomit out some shit that would be deeper than you could even realize...
i think after hearing the song literally hundreds of times you'll realize what i'm saying.....he sounds good on it at first but it's not a song for him (lyrically) that remains dope after a while...because so much of what he's saying is empty cliches and bullshit (and this is coming from someone whose third eye was opened by Rza's lyrics)
AND, keeping in mind still that i'm a huge Rza fan and have been inspired by alotta the brothers words, this part is perhaps the dumbest bullshit "wisdom" i've ever heard:
"you been given the chance to hear the true and livin
so do the knowledge son, before you do the wisdom
So you can understand,
how the thunder and lighting,
above your head is caused by the son of man
We experimented with high explosives, that caused the place to quake and the surface erosions
unless he's got a meaning behind that that's way over my head, it's retarded....thunder, lightning and surface erosion was caused by man???? what about the 4+ billion years of the earth's history before man came, i guess there wasn't any of those things goin on??
i'm not trying to hate on the whole verse or the first verse...it ain't bad at all and it's light-years ahead of your average hip hop but it just ain't quite as dope as Rza can be capable of and it's not even close to matching the quality of the beat he's spitting over...
that was long...but i hope i made my point
the rating would be a 5/5
regardless of how i feel about the lyrics
14. Cherry Range ft Beretta 9
after that near-masterpiece of a track we get that bitter taste of whackness again..
the back-n-forth between Rza and B9 is pretty good but the beat is just unbearable and then to close out the song we're left with about a minute of the chorus being repeated constantly...this song doesn't belong anywhere near a Wu-Tang affiliated album and especially shouldn't have been stuck in between the 2 probably best (certainly most musically pleasing) songs on the entire album..
15. The Birth
(prod. by BRONZE NAZARETH)
my feelings on this song are very similar to how i feel about Day to God...the beat just totally outshines the lyrics, and i say that as someone who considers The Rza as one of my top 5 all-time favorite emcees..
but this beat is just so beautiful and deep that Rza would've had to come with some of his best work ever, lyrically, to keep up with it..
i flat out dislike the first verse, i don't like listening to it...he's flowing way too slow and his mixing together of the sadness of slavery with the stuff about the 6 Million Dollar Man just comes across as stupid..
i like the 2nd verse alot better, he gets much more into it and starts to dive into descriptions that are sometimes purely mystical and are much more poetically presented..."ignite to the speed of light, cause time to stand still"
either way i still felt like he almost ruins a song with an amazing beat....the Rza verse from The Night the Earth Cried is what we needed to have on a beat this powerful but, if we weren't gonna get that, than i honestly think this beat was made for an Alicia Keys or somebody that can sing with some deep emotion and shit....hearing that from me is probably a surprise to some ppl and i'm sure plenty will disagree..but, although i'm not a big fan of that genre, a much more vocal and emotional artist was meant to bless this beat...
16. See the Joy
A very nice ending...i remember reading somewhere it was said that this song was just all live band, no sampling at all except for the beginning and the chorus and it comes across very well..
Definitely not some hard, bangin shit that u wanna bump in the car all the time but this is what makes Wu so great(and especially Rza, as i've been saying for 3 straight reviews now): it is ORIGINAL...it is creative..
this is just a shining example of the kind of things that are possible for a genre like hip hop which mixes poetry with music...and Rza pioneers it perfectly as always..
OVERALL: 5.5 out of 10
it's really hard to try to give overall grades to an album like this because it's practically 1 whole half of greatness and then the other half is a mix of average joints with a selection of horror show joints that wouldn't make the cut on Lil' Chinky's next album...
Mostly, it is a disappointment because Rza is such an unbelievably creative dude when it comes to albums that getting a half-assed project like this one is really below him...he could've done ALOT better..
I expect the upcoming Bobby Digital album (which i will definitely do justice with a review for) to be another step below this one....the gimmick-mode that Rza was just starting to enter into on Digital Bullet fully came out on BOAP and, from the stuff he's mentioned in recent interviews, i think the new album may actually have a tough time topping BOAP...this one at least had some Bronze tracks and a True Master banger...
we shall see....