» LATEST FEATURES

LITERATURE

 » 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
Wu-Tang Clan
Disciples of the 36 Chambers: Chapter 1
Sanctuary Urban

Rating: 9/10 ?


October 1, 2004

I should have written this CD a couple of weeks ago; ODB was still with us then. Or maybe it's a good thing I am writing this now, since ODB passed away just a few weeks ago; the poignancy rings out loud and clear. Whichever way I choose to exploit it, Big Baby Jesus' verse on "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" from the Wu's latest - a live album - proves that there really is "no one fucking iller."

How many hip-hop albums have you heard in your life? Of those few, how many have actually been any good? The entire clan reunited last summer (even gypsy cab driver and forgotten son Cappadonna!) in San Bernardino, CA at the Rock the Bells Festival, and simply tore shit up.

It's been a very long time since Ironman, Only Built for Cuban Linx, Tical, and, of course, Enter the 36 Chambers. In recent years, it's been hard to care about the Wu. With the exception of Ghostface and maybe Inspectah Deck, solo efforts have either floundered due to lack of quality producers and scattered concepts, or gotten too close for comfort with commercial rap. At this point, every member has released their solo effort, and the offshoots of the Clan are too numerous to numberů and for the most part, they are not worth remembering.

If this record is any indication - and it probably isn't - the Wu are coming full circle and are just about completely in sync with each other. Who knows, they may just be capable of another Wu-Tang Forever. Sadly, Russell Jones won't be here to see it.

Disciples' tracklisting runs the gamut from their debut to Iron Flag, hitting solo joints along the way from Ghost, Rae, ODB, Cappadonna and GZA. When one MC takes the reigns, the rest of the Clan acts as his hype men, and no one tries too hard to outshine the rest - now that's a group really functioning as a group. It's a beautiful mesh of hip-hop symmetry, artistry, showmanship and spitting, and they sound like they are really having such a good fucking time doing it. The RZA may sound a bit strained in a live setting, even as he barks venom on a track like "Reunited," but the GZA, ODB and the Rebel INS all sound as good over the PA as they do in the lab.

As "Criminology" begins, Cappadonna and Raekwon urge the crowd to recognize real hip-hop, and Masta Killa gets permission from the Abbot to just say hello to the crowd and winds up rhyming a cappella. It's a moment that fits into the show seamlessly and makes you kick yourself for not having been there. On Disciples, even newer songs like "Gravel Pit" and "Hood" sound fresh, although there are no substitutes for "Shame on a Nigga," "Incarcerated Scarfaces," and "Liquid Swords."

This is a document of the hip-hop era, a timepiece for the Wu that will never be obtained again, and a great goddamn record. RIP ODB, and throw up a W for old time's sake. Peace.

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

» MEDIA DOWNLOADS

» GOT STICKERS?

If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.

» WORLDWIDE DOMINATION

LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!