I initially wanted to write about the new GZA, Pro Tools, why you ask? Because some reviews are saying that it sounds a lot like Legend of Liquid Swords...,* and when was that a bad thing? The Wu-Tang clan and their splintered solo releases never were really about breaking new ground, but staying true their to cult fame. They own a place in history and the fact that the Wu are still around, losses aside; is a statement in itself.
On the flip side, I have a really hard time defending the status of the real-time southern scene, and to completely honest, I struggle with Lil’ Wayne and T.I. They have a few bright spots in their respective repertoire’s, (Earthquake/ The King Back), but it’s as much the production’s winning effort, as the lyrical jockey riding it. Differences aside, I really have got to give some love to Pusha-T, who is one of the most underrated rappers in one of the most underachieving crews. His Clipse patriot Malice join MC’s Ab-Liva and Sandman to fill out their first Re-Up Gang LP, Clipse Present: Re-Up Gang. The best tracks, “Million Dollar Corner” and “Been Through So Much,” are formulaic but successful in comparison to the sixteen-and-over synth approach that define the album’s failures. I am waiting for the next Clipse release for some redemption.
One album that actually has started to get under my skin is the newest Nappy Roots release, Humdinger. While the club scene tracks “Flex,” “Fresh,” and “Panic Room,” remind me of why my southern sympathies feel like an outcast, Humdinger also never forgets where it came from. There is an emotional tone on the album's worthwhile tracks because they find themselves in their surroundings. I 've been really digging on, “On My Way To Georgia,” “No Static” ft. Greg Nice and "Small Town," which are a mix of southern comfort with a dash of sweet tea in comparison to those hastily delivered from the bottom shelf. The single's are respectable, “Good Day” reminds me of De La Soul’s "Trying People" (Bionix), as the feel good track with a children's choir present to lift the spirits, while “Down and Out” ft. Anthony Hamilton keeps the groove alive. It might not be my the best thing I have come across this year, but what's a diamond in the rough if you don’t get a lil' dirty? Check this one out.
* To be honest, the guitar riffs/beat on "Stay in Line" ft. Santi White (Legend) and "0 % Finance" (Pro), do sound uncomfortably similar.