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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
RZA
Birth of a Prince
Sanctuary Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The world has been waiting for the imminent masterpiece from Wu-Tang mastermind, RZA. The Wu has largely fallen off the hip hop map in recent years with a slew of disappointing releases. The only notable exceptions have been every fucking album Ghostface has ever released and the most recent GZA (Legend of the Liquid Sword) and Raekwon (The Lex Diamond Story) albums. But in the past few years, attempts by Inspectah Deck, U-God, and various affiliates have fell far short of the mark they made in the mid-'90s (you still can't hold a candle to Only Built for Cuban Linkz, Liquid Swords, or Ironman). The RZA has 2 solo releases under his belt already, as the bizarre alter-ego known as Bobby Digital, an abusive- to both substances and women- thug who just wants to drink, smoke, and fuck. His first solo release under his original moniker may not be the salvation and reclamation of the Wu's former glory that fans had hoped for, but it is certainly better than anything put out by Killarmy or Sunz of Man.

Styles vary throughout the record, from the thug poppin' crunk of tracks like "We Pop," to the dark and spare sampling of "Grits," a tale of urban poverty woes helped out by Masta Killah, to the sad kung-fu beats of "Chi Kung," which finds RZA drawling out a frog throated rap in almost slo-mo pacing. But for all the highlights, RZA insists on harking back to Bobby Digital-era rhymes, as when he describes smelling his fingers after pussy-popping and talking about how many lips have sucked his dick in "The Drop Off" or the self explanatory "Drink, Smoke and Fuck." This isn't to say that these songs are terrible, but when juxtaposed against his relatively thoughtful (if contradictory, confusing, and bizarre) spirituality that he attempts to explain in tracks like "A Day is 1000 Years", the champagne spraying tracks don't live up. "The Birth" rounds out the record, a somber, autobiographical tale built over a slow beat and an excellent soul sample: "Ever since my birth, I've had no one to care" A whole mess of guests helps out in the rhyming throughout the album, from the aforementioned Masta Killah to Ghostface to various Wu-affiliates like Cilva Ringz and Kinetic. Production duties are handled by the RZA himself with the help of producers like Megahertz, Barracuda, and usual suspect Tru Masta.

Contradiction has been the main theme of everything Wu related these days. The group as a whole may be signing to Dr. Dre's Aftermath label, but the internal strife continues. In a recent interview with MTV, U-God publicly complained about RZA's favoritism towards certain members of the Clan and mismanagement of the group as causing them to pretty much fall off after Wu-Tang Forever. Nevertheless, despite every misstep and way too blunted song concept, no matter how much grief he gets from Wu fans, RZA remains one of the most innovative and refreshing producers (and MC's) that has come out of the early 1990s golden era of hip hop music. Birth of a Prince does not live up to the potential most fans know that RZA has, but compared to most of the commercial releases of 2003, the record prevails.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker

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