It's a sad time to be a Wu-Tang fan. It's hard to see musicians you grew up admiring make such pathetically bad business moves. You can see them from a mile away, but somehow the 'entrepreneurs' that make up the Clan don't have that foresight. After torpedoing what was likely their last shot at relevance in the modern Hip-Hop world by disowning 8 Diagrams
and going on a RZA-less tour (in support of... what, exactly?) Raekwon stirred up more controversy by stating that he would head the creation of a Wu-Tang album that would bring back the rawness of their early records. Six months later and the dwindling Wu-Tang fanbase got one song. Just one
. Ghostface's collaboration with MF Doom has entered the land occupied by Cuban Linx 2, a magical place full of something known as bullshit. The exaggerated self-importance of the Wu-Tang Clan is depressing and pathetic in its disconnect with reality. So how does Robert Diggs, shunned by his Clansmen and seemingly alone in his new way forward, cope? Easy, he just makes another Bobby Digital album.
It's easy to see why. After the debacle of the last Clan album and the misfire that was 2003's Birth of a Prince
, RZA's future in Hip-Hop seems bleak. If he's going to go out, it seems, the Abbott is going to make sure he enjoys it. From the outset Digi Snacks
is an exaggerated take on what RZA and Wu-Tang brought to Hip-Hop in the 90's. The cover, a half-finished comic book representation of the B-boy himself on a Japan-themed throne surrounded by half-naked women (presumably ninja women) of all colours gives away the joke. Digi Snacks
doesn't want to make any overt statements, it's a comic book adaptation of Bobby Digital In Stereo
, a series of self-contained songs that complement the soundtrack style of Bobby's 1998 debut. As such, the record is disjointed and lacks the sequencing so common in Hip-Hop records (hint: strongest songs and singles at the start, reflective/struggle songs at the end and the weakest tracks padding out the middle).
The songs, then, should be judged on their own merits rather than their placement in a haphazardly laid out album, if you can call it that. Long Time Coming
is a passable effort that never quite peaks. Money Don't Own Me
is an album highlight, mixing a vocal sample with RZA's bluesier recent output, highlighting his strength in creating strong grooves. Digi Snacks
is too scattershot and borderline-strange to remain consistent and Straight Up The Block
exemplifies RZA's lack of restraint and occasional awful ideas. It's what RZA's fans have come to expect and if they can overcome the deficiencies of Digi Snacks
(ie. it's not really an album) they'll enjoy it immensely. If not.. well, there's always Cuban Linx II
. One day.