Record Review: Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Method Man, 'Wu-Massacre'

Categories: Record Review

The Hype: When legendary Wu-Tang Clan
 members Ghostface Killah, Raekwon the Chef and Method Man announced their plans to record an entire album together in July 2009, the anticipation among Wu-heads was palpable. Then we waited for it...and waited....and waited. 

Singles from the album were released as early as November 2009. The most recent tease came in February, when Def Jam released Avenging Eagles by Allah Mathematics, which featured the tracks "Mef vs. Chef 2" and "Miranda" from the new Ghost-Chef-Meth collab. Finally, the trio's full-length effort, Wu-Massacre (Def Jam), hit the racks today. Was the 10-month wait worth it?

The Judgment: Wu Massacre wastes little time getting to the meat of a rough and rugged hip-hop chronicle of drugs, guns, pimps, hos and horn sections. Iconic rhyme smiths Ghost, Raekwon and Meth deliver one lusty, crime-riddled vignette after the other, leading off with the explosive opening track "Criminology 2.5." The third follow-up to the 2004 Wu classic "Criminology" and Raekwon's 2009 solo track "Criminology 2," the 2.5 version delivers stirring, sample-happy East Coast verve highlighted by Ghost's tightly wound intensity, Rae's rugged baritone and Meth's gritty sarcasm. 

The rap battle track "Mef vs. Chef 2" pits the pair in a hot exchange of vivid braggadocio reminiscent of an old-school cipher on a front stoop in their native Staten Island. Most, if not all of the beats are big and blustering, bound tightly by the usual ominous horn sections that make tracks like "Gunshowers" seem epic. But the same effect over and over again gets a little tiresome--even over the relatively brief 30-minute run time.

A few songs, like the "Smooth Sailing Remix" sound a little incomplete lyrically, like rough sketches of songs, and too many of the tracks just seem to fade out like a '70s sitcom. Of course, that's probably exactly what they were going for. Just don't tune out before catching "Miranda," packed with three minutes worth of the trio's sharpest verses--coupled with fluttering salsa piano that serves as a lusty palate-cleanser after all that talk about street life, killing and carnage.

Download These: "Criminology 2.5," "Gunshowers," "Miranda" 

Grade: B+

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