Beat Box

Phases and Stages


Birth of a Prince (Sanctuary) A decade beyond "Protect Ya Neck," the abbot of Wu-Tang Clan, aka Bobby Digital, unleashes his first album under the moniker of RZA. Undeniable as a producer, his swords are as sharp as ever with "The Whistle" screaming, "We put those bees all on your map." As the tribal war drums of "You'll Never Know" induce a warrior's buzz, the manic veracity of "The Grunge" illustrates the act of being "bucked down by a crazy cuffie." Updating his rap for contemporary heads RZA bounces hard on "The Drop Off" and "Cherry Range." A quartet of producers, True Master, Megahertz, Barracuda, and Bronze Nazareth venerate their maestro by lending a handful of beats that build upon his principles. Meanwhile, RZA addresses criticisms for being a meandering MC with a resounding, "Even if I rode around the world on a blind horse, strapped down, I'd still get my point across." His lyrical duet with Ghostface Killah, "Fast Cars," has already become an instant classic for underground die-hards. "On the paper chase, like blood, my thugs circulate, no caffeine, but the submachine gun will percolate." While the freestyles of "Bob N'I" capture RZA at his most playful, the tear-stained raps of "Chi Kung" reveal a general under the gun. Any way you slice it, the Wu is still coming through. (RZA plays Stubb's Tuesday, Nov. 18)


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