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Join Date: Oct 2006
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The Psychic World of Walter Reed
The double album is not an easy trick to pull off. Consider the amount of time and effort it takes to make a single album.
Now multiply that times two.
At the end of the day, you are putting in serious work. Some of these efforts manage to come close to perfection (Wu-tang Forever), some get about 3/4 of the way there, but still have filler, (All Eyez on Me), and some fall disastrously short of the potential a brilliant artist holds. (Life After Death) The Psychic World of Walter Reed most closely resembles the former category. Others may disagree as to which, but there really are only a few throwaway tracks. Some are out of place, and some are just embarrassing, one (The Question) is as pointless a skit as it gets, but as you recall (Black Shampoo, The Closing, Wu-revolution) Wu-Tang Forever had the exact same deficiencies. What really makes PWOWR miss out on being dubbed an instant classic are the questionable decisions, both by the producers, and the artist himself, that were easy to avoid. These little deficiencies however, cannot detract from the overall depth and scope of an album loaded with...possibilities.
The Psychic World of Walter Reed is two brilliant albums blended into one. It's a religious and political manifesto, spanning the streets of the ghetto, to the Gaza strip, to other galaxies, from man's origins on Earth, to his future. Killah Priest, using his gub'ment name in the title, meaningfully blends his messages and beliefs into addicting backgrounds, wedged between ghetto tales, sometimes from a first person view, and sometimes from the third person omniscient. Sometimes, as in Currents of Events, he plays everybody, including the women, and we are stuck with ridiculous voices. Mistakes like this, as well as the very questionable change-of-hook on Tonite We Ride, are absolutely avoidable. It is up to the artist and the producers to make sure they don't happen. Thankfully, PWOWR has enough substance and message to make them an afterthought.
The sheer volume of music may be overwhelming, if you recall, the first time I reviewed this, it was after 2AM and I was mentally exhausted by the end. I believe this is because there is just so much to digest, and doing it all at once, trying to concentrate on the complex beats and lyrics concurrently, is too much to take all in one sitting. This is not a bad thing, and again I compare it to Wu-Tang Forever (Which only had 27 tracks compared to 41 for PWOWR), as the complex nature of the lyrics made repeated listens an absolute must. So rather than reviewing it in order as I did last time, I will review it best to worst, as I really don't think the order of this album matters much at all. There appears to be a deliberate attempt to spread out the more controversial tracks, so other than the occasional beat spillover from song to song, there really aren't many cases of continuity on this album. Therefore, I say take your digital copies and deconstruct them, then remake the album to your liking. There's bound to be a classic in there somewhere.
New Reality 10
The apex of disc 1, and immediately the most popular track on the album. It asks and gives so much. It asks you to accept a new frontier of information, and gives you that perspective. As Priest says,
"The heart in my chest is the shape of Africa/My brain is lavender/accepted calls from 9-1-1 plane passengers/they said they never aboard/the government used a remote/so let's revolt/someone cut the cord"
From the amazingly fun intro, to the spacial high screeching horns, to the thumping bass, to the"cover-ups FBI's and flying saucers," So many things can be said about this amazing experience. I prefer: "It's Exciting!!!"
They Say 10
I'm surprised there really hasn't been more hype for the track. This is the perfect blend of beat/verse/hook. His flow and cadence changes again and again during the song, at times he's rapping four syllables at other times three. The most amazing stretch of bars perhaps on the whole album is a synopsis of pretty much his entire message.
"They say I believe in spaceships/he's buggin'/Priest talks about the comet comin'/I speak at train stops/Plain cops rush in cocaine spots/CIA started it/They market it/The target it to people who sell or use it/This is just music/influenced by the government that plant drugs on kids"
There is an overall desperate feel to the beat, as the pecked high piano notes ebb and recede over a breezy string orchestra, and double timed percussion. Priest's echoed bassy chorus is utterly repeatable for days. Spread the word, this track deserves recognition.
The Park 10
Ben commented that this was one of the few tracks that stood out to him, and there's a good reason. Priest goes off. Over a soulful 3/4 beat, Priest machine gun rattles off his flow with gems such as,
"Annunaki/brand new posse/wind me up/walkie talkie/aki-aki/shazam".
It will draw parallels to Deck's The Champion, from the Manifesto.
Devotion to the Saints 10
If we're being honest, the only real Wu-Tang guest appearances are featured on this amped up, powerhouse track. Ghostface and Inspectah Deck bless what was quickly becoming a one man show. It's necessary. Just as Fire Stone was necessary on Disc 2. The imprints of Wu-Tang should always be there, even if you only see glimpses. But this track is much more than just a glimpse into Wu-Tang, as the opening Kung Fu sample sets the mood off perfectly. Add to that the haunting echoes, slamming base, and more Kung Fu samples on the bridges, and the flag is firmly planted.
The first leaked single is quite simply, one long quotable.
"Every time I say a rhyme it whitens my teeth"...
"time and admiration, stress and aggravation, I don't do yoga, but i can stretch your imagination."
"...beads, water or oil/saint holy men, beggar or royal/angels devils or aliens/which you believe in more?/Do you receive or restore?/Do you want peace or war?/Do you wish to live free or by law?"
The Opening 9
Should be called "The pussy", because of how warm and welcoming it is. Hmmm. I guess the Opening works euphemistically too. Deep bass and a spacial background allows KP introduce us to his Black Israelite beliefs. Those old enough may recognize the sample from "The Electric Company" in the very beginning. This track really does set the mood of the whole album, which is why I'm so high on it, despite the short length.
The Winged People 9
With a brand new video accompanying it, you now have a visual and lyrical guide to KP's beliefs. I'm not going to elaborate or comment on it, because I simply don't know, but I will say this about the Annunaki; The story is interesting, and kind of fits, especially in the department of ancient hieroglyphics. I wasn't sure what to think about this track at first. It's bizarre in a weirdly wonderful way. I find it reminiscent of another album that talked about aliens, The Grand Illusion by STYX. I gave it 9 out of 10, because some will find it too abstract for their liking.
Peace God 9
I immediately thought of Killarmy when the beat dropped.
It seems like the essence of 4th Disciple productions, which is why I was shocked to learn Ciph Barker produced this, while 4th's contribution was the mediocre beat for Anakim Dreams. From heaven to earth, Peace God is about war on all fronts. Not just directly, but the misdirection of "devils" who use "blackjack, race horses and lotto tickets" to entrance us. The second verse dives deeper into this subversion, for after purchasing his size 13 Nike's he returned to the ghetto to witness the stitched foreheads of a lobotomized public. A metaphor for sure, but a powerful image none-the less. His visually disturbing "bloated stomachs, facial scars, and heart conditions", is a glimpse into his perception of America.
In the end, the "Peace God", is a plea for help.
This is quite simply a braggadocious track. KP is demanding your respect at the end of a gun on the hook. I personally get a kick out of him digging up the corpses of past brilliant minds, grinding them up, and drinking their remains in an attempt to smash some bars.
Developing Story 8
This track loses two points due to the ridiculous intro, where someone is ordering a hit and the hitter's voice is distorted? Why? It's all pointless.
Other than that nonsense, it has a ridiculous piano loop, and Priest delivers a visually stimulating tale, a la Ghostface Killah.
The Elders Gave Us Aura 8
I don't really have to praise Agallah for this beat...Priest does it himself in the intro. In one of the better transitioning moments on the album, from They Say, 'Aura' provides you with yet another dose of soul. The only real problem, and this is one of the more vocal gripes so far with the album; Too short.
Ein Sof 8
Ein Sof = The infinite.
Ein Sof represents the true hidden essence of God, which is entirely unknown to humans.
Priest takes you on a trip through his dreams.
Shadow Landz 8
I'm not entirely happy with this being wedged in between The Opening and New Reality. I think it would have been much better suited next to a track like The Spell or Lord Marduk. Asian strings play heavy in the foreground. Killah Priest describes a bizarre transformative story, than ends it with the cliche, "I can't believe I wrote this on paper." What could have been...
Street Thesis 7
What are you trying to do? Ruin my speakers? Annoying buzzing and echoes aside, this track is pretty sick. The hook and verses are both on point and worth of study, as the subliminals on the hook suggest.
I always cringe when I see repeat titles, even though the catalog is extensive, the language is even more extensive. Don't do it. The original was of course on Wu-Tang Forever, yet another parallel drawn to that album. Perhaps that was the intention?
What stands out here are the heartbreaking chorus and likewise heart-wrenching lyrics. I cringe when I hear..."Drug sniffing dogs piss in the halls, the frisk us on floors while hitting our jaws, twisting the laws..."
Currents of Events 7
This is one of the more frustrating moments on the album. You start off listening to a dope backdrop, Priest is telling a story from several points of view, the story rewinds...
And then Priest is talking in a woman's voice.
Ok, move on, the story is getting better, it goes back again, and Priest goes lady again...
I'd really like to rewind the song and find out what the hell happened, but my forehead is starting to hurt.
Energy Work 6
Ugh. I was never a fan of this type of beat, straight up. Those experimental lab tracks at the end of Bobby Digital In Stereo never made my playlist. I find them boring and amateurish, not groundbreaking at all. That said, KP is not riding this beat at all. The beat was clearly added later to the vocals. Add dijeradus and it's essentially Hevy Mental pt 2. I really hope he didn't have to pay $50,000 for RZA playing pan flute at the end.
The Spell 6
I find pretty much everything about this track fruity, even the parts about murder. This is for those D+D types. The beat is...ssssuper.
Sorry, I meant sub par.
Super God 6
There are some really funny and brilliant moments on this track, but it's way too embarrassing to share...with anyone. The beat is like some sort of cartoonish joke. Video game noises, and high pitched voices? C'mon son.
The Seer, The Poet 4
The intro ruins this track completely, so most of the focus of the following rant will be it, rather than the music that follows. Before I talk about this, let me first stress that I hate Catholicism and it's practices around the world. I am in no way defending the religion itself, or those who choose to practice it, nor am I admonishing those who choose to practice it.
KP uses this clip of this religious zealot to demonize and lump all Catholics into one category. The problem is, this is the same type of propaganda he is railing against in his lyrics. This type of ridicule is meaningless on the surface, but powerful subconsciously. He isn't hiding the fact he is directly targeting the Vatican. It's everywhere on the album. But using the same tactics they use against them, I find wholly hypocritical, and a bit surreal.
In addition to that nonsense, the beat is annoying, so it's really hard to stick around for the only good parts, the hook, and verse 2.
Think Priest (Good Thoughts) 10
The crown jewel of disc 2, Think Priest has probably the most addicting beat on the entire album. The elegant piano riff and the hollow echo sounds juxtapose nicely, creating a head nodding loop not soon to be forgotten. The hook, as well as the title, may be not so subtly subconscious. And it works.
Fire Stone 10
The essence of a RZA beat. From the sample on the hook, to the slamming bass, to the cascading low piano notes, it's Wu-tang, and it's great.
The Document 10
The Street of San Francisco are calling. This jazzy horn filled track is an homage to cop shows in the seventies, as Priest weaves a tale bathed in reality, a welcome respite from the overabundance of political and religious tracks. Priest becomes more and more enthusiastic as the track unfolds, raising his vocals to match the climactic finish.
The Black Market 9
An electric jazz piano highlights the attention grabbing oscillating riff from Godz Wrath Productions, as Priest describes the trade of illegal goods, and how it is all funneled to and through the U.S. There is an abundance of information being thrown at you, but to pinpoint the message, I turn to "Here's the clues/let me walk you through/when you pray you talk to god/when you meditate god talks to you/you seem confused/we live in revelations/head of the nation is Satan/conjugation/conquered races/now we facing condemnation/I'm contemplatin' confrontation/final bomb invasion/we psalms in waiting"
Lotus Flower 9
Haunting echoes and strings form the basis for the beat in this solemn and melancholy masterpiece. Priest somehow manages to sound masculine on a track that is undeniably feminine. Lotus flower is an examination of the spiritual and metaphysical facets of the universe, through the creative vision of KP.
Fortune Teller 9
Much like 'From then 'til Now', Priest takes the track from the past to the future, chronicling the decline of civilization through his eyes. The melody is practically all ambiance and the chimes and bells rise and subside like the tide.
Golden Calf 9
Definitely one of the biggest 'grower' tracks on the album, what was once a skippable joint, has become a necessity between the classics, Think Priest and Fire Stone. The beat is simple enough, slamming whole piano notes, and a drum kit. It's the lyrics and the hook that are the real attention-getters as Priest describes false idols.
Wubian Nation 9
The only Wu feature on disc 2, Raekwon adds a bit of variety to what has been nearly two hours of just Priest spitting. An interesting collage of sounds (that manage to stay on beat), drive yet another track that starts off conscious, but turns to materialistic rants about Raekwon's Gucci sneakers, the only real flaw.
L' Thianine 9
Killah Priest on a weed track? Seems kind of overdue. Chimes, bells, and a harp, not to mention the chorus from a douche commercial and strange bird sounds, make this tropical sounding and very feminine.
Listen to Me 9
A eulogy on wax. Listen to Me reflects on the transition from life to death, with Priest emphasizing on the hook..."Just listen to me, just listen to me." It's a tough subject, and Priest tackles it with such eloquence, delivering lines like "There's no blindness like ignorance, better than a young man's knowledge is an old man's experience, there's no evil nor sickness, nothing so dreaded as death," and "you only got one life so life it now, and cherish the day before you perish away..."
Love is Life 8
I feel like this should be the real ending to the double disc, as there is an overall fealing of completion that embodies the song. In fact, the last three tracks all have to deal with death, existentialism, and self examination, all ending themes. It talks about how all that is old and good, is eventually replaced, to the point where you barely recognize where you came from. This theme should resonate with the older members of this forum, many of whom may be experiencing their own mid-life crisises.
Lord Marduk 8
This track has been getting a lot of attention on the Wu-Corp forum due to Priest's assertion that Cilvaringz is a liar. We all knew that already, why waste your time? The beat is a heavy metal hybrid, featuring shrieking guitars over an ambient backdrop. Unfortunately, it's a casual off hand reference to yet another moment of Wu-stupidity that will make this cut stand out.
How I Write 7
An interesting if over-exaggerated chronicle of how Priest comes up with the rhymes he spits. "Through concentration I can see the constellation/that's my revelation/That's how I write..."
PWOWR (The Problem Solver) 7
Essentially Heavy Mental with a different backdrop. "Heavy Mental" is replaced by "Water, water", and "I can hear the angels..."
The dijeradus are exchanged with ambient asian strings and pan flute. Priest goes spoken word for nearly four and a half minutes before the track devolves into a series of overlapping echoes, and the ending message, "Hip Hop is not dead..."
Tonight We Ride 7
It is very upsetting what Priest decided to do to the hook. The off key, Rocky Horror Picture Show transvestite gay retarded vampire hook is just embarrassing.
Anakim Dreams 6
Lazy, boring, repetitive beat by 4th disciple, really shows the decline of a once great producer. He adds a helicopter to the end to make us remember his Killarmy days with longing. Priest, despite not much to work with, carries the track and makes it pretty much an afterthought.
Not nearly as bad as I made it out to be, but none-the-less misplaced on the back of disc 2. Honestly, I have absolutely no idea what he is trying to say, because the idea, like the beat, is scattered. Perhaps it is his attempt at a montage, but I'm really lost on this one.
Again, for the thrid and final time on the album, Priest once again channels Heavy Mental, on this spoken word interlude. It's perhaps a bit too much at this point. The novelty really has worn off.
Tower (The Visitor) 5
I still have no idea what Priest is saying on this track. It is by far the worst audio mix on the whole album. KP is completely drowned out by the blaring horns on the melody. It's really too bad, because the hook really is decent.
Music of the Spheres 5
This beat is experimental, and really just sloppy. I get the attempt, it's been tried before, (Splish Splash) but with much more success than this.
The Question 1
This track sounds like it was made by a ten year old. It's Juvenile and stupid, and although the question at hand is important, there are much more appealing ways to ask it. I'm not even gonna count it toward the score, it's pointless.
After careful examination, and repeated listens, it has become clear to me that disc 2 actually is much better than I had given it credit for. I still feel it isn't as good as disc one, but it's certainly adequate enough to be compared with the first disc's mastery. It just takes longer to digest, because well, it's disc two of an incredibly bloated album. The natural thing to do is listen to disc one first, and by the time you are done, you may be to WU'ed out to appreciate disc 2 fully.
That said, this album is a very near classic. The mistakes, which can be counted on one hand, are mostly forgivable and can easily be bypassed by uploading versions of the songs that you do like. For instance, the hook on Tonite We Ride is an absolute mess, but you can find a version online without the vampires on the hook. The point is, you probably aren't going to like everything. There are some beats and ideas on this album that are just too far beyond some people's mental capacity.
That's ok. There are 41 tracks. Just compile the ones you do like and make your own classic Priest album. There is definitely one in there somewhere.
While you were busy dissing Wu like a bitch ass/ I was getting served after sex breakfast/ Yeah, that BBW groupie shit/ can get you served a droopy dick/ fuck what you're speaking/ 'cause I throw W's with Puerto Ricans
Last edited by beautifulrock; 03-25-2013 at 06:27 PM.