The Score: "Wu Block Is A Vintage Rap Release Only Lacking In Invention"

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 3:25PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Buy Now
  • Wu-Block
  • Wu-Tang Clan, D-Block
  • November 27, 2012
HHDX 3.5/5
Red Eye 2.5/5
Soul In Stereo 4/5
Associated Press 3/5

It has been a long time in the making but Wu-Tang Clan and D-Block fans can finally come together and celebrate the release of both rap crew's new Wu Block compilation album today.

Rather than thrown together by members of both crews, the Wu's Ghostface Killah and D-Block's Sheek Louch helm the project.

Now, some of the members from the clans have joined forces to produce an album under the name Wu-Block, spearheaded by rappers Ghostface Killah and Sheek Louch. Their collaborative effort results in a solid piece of work on the 16-track album, which also features Jadakiss, Method Man, Styles P, Raekwon and Inspectah Deck. (Huffington Post)

Rather than travel outside of their comfort zone, Ghost and Sheek stick to the tones fans have grown to expect from them.

Much of Wu Block moves as expected. There are very few stylistic surprises or indications that Ghostface and Sheek Louch (this project's captains) had any desire to venture anywhere they haven't already planted their flag. The soulful "Crack Spot Stories" (Ghost, Sheek Louch, Jadakiss , Raekwon) and "Cocaine Central" (Ghost, Sheek, Styles P ) are about exactly what their titles indicate. The raucous "Pull Tha Cars Out" (Sheek, Ghostface, Method Man ) feels as though it was made for vintage Rap clubs like New York City's The Tunnel, complete with a ballerificly shallow chorus: "Pull the cars out / We gettin money over here / Them bottles on the table / The weed is in the air / The women staring at us / The haters ice grillin / Wu Block / You know we in the building." (HHDX)

The rappers also refrain from offering a flurry of time stamps with their bars.

In one of the more telling lines on "Wu-Block," Sheek Louch says that he's "never heard of a blog." For the album's purposes, this is a boast: the only indications that this collaboration between the rapper and his fellow '90s New York rap eminence Ghostface Killah is a recent occurrence are a couple stray iPhone references and the fact the year 2012 is printed on the cover. The biggest surprise an album bringing together members of the Wu-Tang Clan and The LOX has to offer is the fact that it hasn't been made before. (Red Eye Chicago)

Although packed with features, Ghostface Killah helps lead the charge of emcees.

Speaking of The Wizard of Poetry, it's Ghost who stands tallest on Wu-Block. His outlandish metaphors and limitless charisma make him the driving force behind every track. When he's not dropping killer punchlines ("Bob Barker microphones, I get paper" on "Cocaine Central") he's just unloads baffling but entertaining metaphors, like his wild rant on "Pour the Martini" about his glowing utility belt and demanding exercise equipment on stage. Ghost's shining moment is on "Take Notice." In a raspy voice, Pretty Toney complains about being sick ("they telling me to throw onions and garlic in my socks! I ain't wit all that!") before going ballistic on the beat: "You can catch me on G Street, snowflake fur on/cuban'd out, neck looking all beastly." (Soul In Stereo)

In addition to rap features, fans can expect to hear soul veteran Erykah Badu on the LP.

Their collaborative effort results in a solid piece of work on the 16-track album, which also features Jadakiss, Method Man, Styles P, Raekwon and Inspectah Deck. The self-titled album has a soulful vibe meshed with hardcore, metaphoric rhymes. That's certainly evident on the album's first track, Crack Spot Stories, featuring Raekwon and Jadakiss, and Guns for Life, with Styles P. The album hits its peak on Drivin' Round, featuring Erykah Badu, Masta Killa and GZA. (Associated Press)

Although embraced widely by music critics, some pointed out a few thin flaws in originality.

"Stella" is another great narrative. And the souled-out '70s sampled "Been Robbed," where Sheek and Ghost trade four bar verses in impeccably is also absolutely appreciated. From mic to plug, Wu Block is a vintage Rap release only lacking in invention. Ghost and Sheek have made these songs repeatedly their entire career, only this time they created them together. And that's all right. It's hard to hate on pioneers for doing what they pioneered. (HHDX)
While there are surely people who are thrilled to finally see some heretofore unrealized combination of Wu-Tang and LOX rappers on a track, "Wu-Block" doesn't offer much more than what it claims to. The style here is reliable but outdated, particularly due to all the awkward songs about robbing people. Longtime fans will be happy, and neophytes might find it a convenient point of entry, but plenty of others will be just as happy revisiting familiar classics. (Red Eye Chicago)

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