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XXL reviews No Said Date - 2004-03-30 08:49:32

© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2004-03-30

Here's the review that Hip-Hop Magazine XXL wrote on Masta Killa's No Said Date album:

Life as Masta Killa shouldn't be so rough. But after 10 years as the ninth member, the Jimmy Carter of Wu-Tang remains largely forgotten like the 39th president. His first efford for self, No Said Date, comes at a time when even the Wu all-stars are falling on deaf ears. Even with RZA and Mathematics contributing beats, along with other core Clan members' lyrical cyanide, caring about the Clan's low-profile MC is tough. While his crew musters up enough gems to shine on his debut, Killa's ability to bring the ruckus is waning.

Listening to No Said Date, it's clear that Killa's mic presence is underwhelming. His monotone delivery and steady cadence leave his apathetic raps almost completely dependent on the quality of his production. His roundabout rhymes and Five Percenter slang sound best over upbeat rhymes like the Choco-produced "Digi Warfare", a break-dancer's wet dream with it's '80's synthesized keyboards and old school drums. Although quotables are scarce, "Silverbacks" shows his grimier side, as he sprays vivid crime scene imagery over True Master's mellow guitar riffs: "Preme went down for a body / He killed Poppy / Dusted in the lobby / Toxy off shocky / Cops be harassing trying to stop cash and the episodes past"

The real jewels here are revealed by the rest of Wu. Unfortunately, their more animated mic personas often eclipse Killa. He is on the sidelines for ODB's deranged howling ("Doggy, doggy / We'll steal your bone") on "Old Man", and plays the back while RZA spastically bombs Eurocentric curriculums on "High School". Even Method Man sounds rejuvenated alongside his fam's Brooklyn-born affiliated Killah Priest on "Secret Rivals".

While the Clan seems ready to re-plant the iron flag, Masta Killa's lack of lyrical dexterity brings down No Said Date at times. But when his rhyme family's in tow, the Shaolin master's album plays just fine.

Written by Toshitaka Kondo for XXL Magazine

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