NEW ALBUM REVIEW: Mathematics Presents...Return Of The Wu And Friends

Even those most well-versed in all things Wu-Tang Clan could be forgiven for checking out this album title and thinking, "didn't this come out two years ago?" That's less a joke at the expense of Wu odds-and-sods collections than a legit point of clarification: This is literally a sequel of sorts to the deceptively similar Mathematics Presents: Wu-Tang and Friends Unreleased collection from 2007.

But even if there is a tacit acknowledge that the Wu market is defined by insatiable demand, such collections should come equipped with a purpose-- either as a primer for novices (like 2008's Wu: The Story of the Wu-Tang Clan), or full of obscurities for Wu fans. We'd say Return of Wu and Friends fails spectacularly on both counts, but it's a shame to waste the term "spectacular" on such a mundanely depressing, blatant cash-in. (Though, let's get real, this probably won't make a dime for anyone.)

If you're in a forgiving mood, perhaps you can enjoy Return as a kind of song-spotting game, since most of this is recycled material from the numbingly forgettable post-The W, pre-8 Diagrams Wu dead zone. At the time, only Wu members with some variation of the word "Killer" in their name made music worth a shit. Yet this doesn't even pull tracks from the good Masta Killa album-- "It's What It Is" and "Iron God Chamber" might've been the strongest cuts from Made in Brooklyn and have the liveliest and cleanest production within context, but it's hardly the sound of anyone pushing themselves.

Elsewhere, it's mostly Mathematics getting high on his own supply: "Rush", "John 3:16" (a preview of Method Man's sorta-revival on 4:21... The Day After), and Inspectah Deck showcase "Real Nillas" can be found on 2005's The Problem. Some tracks are on even greater Multiplicity shit: "Strawberries and Cream" also showed up on The Problem, but Ghostface's verse is taken verbatim from Bulletproof Wallets' "Strawberry"-- though trading Trife Da God for Deck and RZA is an upgrade.

You're promised "exclusive" new tracks, yet in order for there to be "Clap 2010", an original "Clap" had to exist. And you know it does, if you happened to let The W run after "Jah World" ended. Only back then, it didn't sound like it was playing inside a duffle bag, and it kept the kung-fu fighting effects to a minimum. "Steppin' 2 Me" is actually GZA's "Breaker Breaker" remix given a boom-bap beat dull even by latter-day GZA album standards and "Early Grave" picks off an ODB verse from 4:21's "Dirty Mef"-- give yourself a hand if you managed to spot the raw material and decide for yourself if it's something you're either proud or ashamed of.

Goddamn, even the title is false advertising, considering the display of vitality from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II just months prior. They didn't return to do anything here other than overlook the application of dubbed-cassette production values and haphazard sequencing to what were B-level Wu-Tang raps in the first place. Used to be that everything you were trying to forget about the Clan during the mid-2000s-- the disinterested rhyming, the anonymous and outsourced beatmaking, the complete lack of inspiration or organization-- was a little something called Iron Flag. Consider this a suitable replacement.

0 comments to "NEW ALBUM REVIEW: Mathematics Presents...Return Of The Wu And Friends"

Post a Comment

Edge Archive

Site Counters


Search Tha Edge

Edge Video

Web hosting for webmasters