Music Review: Wu-Tang Clan's “Return of the Wu and Friends”

2/18/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Megan O'Malley

The Wu-Tang Clan is a hard-core group of rappers who have found success both as a group and as solo artists. Their latest album, “Return of the Wu and Friends,” highlights their talents when they work together and gives each rapper their own time to shine. Made up of RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, this is the group’s first album since 2007’s “8 Diagrams.”

Fans of true hard-core hip hop will enjoy this album. The Wu-Tang Clan leave nothing to the imagination and for that reason alone, this is not an album to listen to when kids are in the car. Aside from the swearing, there are multiple references to drugs and violence. The song “Strawberries and Cream” is extremely graphic in its sexual references, so much so that some might blush when listening to them. These elements don’t make the songs bad by any means--you just may want to check who you play the album around.

It is easy to tell that the Wu-Tang Clan spends as much time in the production studio as they do in the recording studio. The songs are not only about the raps they lay down or the beats behind them, but the product as a whole. The use of voiceover pieces from films and television not only add another layer to the song but really set up the mood of the songs in the first place. Nor is any one man the star of the show.  “Return of the Wu and Friends” is a group effort and the finished product shows that off.

Some of the highlights of this 16-track album include the songs “All Flowers” and “John 3:16,” the latter of which really highlight Method Man’s skills. “Iron God Chamber” comes in with a Motown feel for its beat--it’s a nice change up from the previous songs, which are somewhat heavier in their sound. “Rush” is cool mainly for its creativity. They use voices as instruments as well as the rhythms they have produced. The mixture of the two makes for a great sounding song and a personal favorite.

“Return of the Wu and Friends” is not an album for everyone. Anyone uncomfortable with listening to lyrics about sex, drugs and murder probably should look for something else. Try something with a lighter feel like Lupe Fiasco or the Blue Scholars. But for those who want some serious hard-core hip hop, “Return of the Wu and Friends” does not disappoint.

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