Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wu-Gambinos: The Second Album

This month, I might cover the Wu-Tang Clan's second album, "Forever" on my Better as a Single blog. If I do (and I make no guarantees), I'll probably at some point point out that the Wu-Tang Clan would have come up with a much stranger follow-up to their début if they had chosen the cream of the crop from the first bunch of solo releases, Tical, Return to the 36 Chambers: the Dirty Version, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..., Liquid Swords and Ironman, and assembled them together on a single CD.

So I decided to give that very thing a try. My compilation is not strictly 'the very best' - it only includes tracks produced by the RZA, and while focusing on the best and most commercially successful still attempts to maximise input by Wu-Tang members and minimise input by special guests. So here's a rough draft: so far, so good. I've listened to it, and the result is a brilliant album, sadly much better than the one that did get released.

All songs produced by the RZA. Non-Clan special guests are listed in italics.
  1. Liquid Swords (4:31) — GZA, RZA
  2. Bring the Pain (3:09) — Method Man, Booster
  3. Wu-Gambinos (5:39) — Method Man, Raekwon,  RZA, Masta Killa, Ghostface Killah
  4. Snakes (5:26) — RZA, Masta Killa, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Killah Priest, Buddah Monk
  5. Cold World (5:31) — GZA, Inspectah Deck, Life
  6. Shimmy Shimmy Ya (2:41) — Ol' Dirty Bastard
  7. Winter Warz (4:40) — Raekwon, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Cappadonna
  8. Duel of the Iron Mic (4:06) — Ol' Dirty Bastard, GZA, Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck
  9. Meth vs. Chef (3:36) — Method Man, Raekwon
  10. Shadowboxin' (3:30) — Method Man, GZA
  11. Criminology (3:47) — Ghostface Killah, Raekwon
  12. Mr. Sandman (3:37) — RZA, Inspectah Deck, Method Man, Street Thug, Carlton Fisk, Blue Raspberry
  13. Guillotine (Swordz) (4:22) — Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, GZA
  14. Black Jesus (4:37) — Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Popa Wu
  15. Ice Cream (4:13) — Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Cappadonna
  16. Cuttin' Headz (2:28) — Ol' Dirty Bastard, RZA
  17. Release Yo' Delf (4:15) — Method Man, Blue Raspberry
  18. All That I Got is You (5:21) — Ghostface Killah, Popa Wu, Mary J. Blige 
While this album winds up having more special guests than Wu-Tang members (if you don't count Cappadonna as an official member), it is remarkably rounded in terms of clan contributions: Method Man, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah appear on seven tracks apiece, the GZA and the RZA each get five credits, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Masta Killa and Inspectah Deck feature on four tracks each, and underachieving U-God (quite low-key on the début as well) racks in a mere two contributions.

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