The Wu-Tang Clan has arguably been the most influential group in hip-hop, spawning countless successful solo careers and single-handedly putting Staten Island on the map. The Clan is back with a CD full of collaborations and previously unreleased material entitled Wu-Tang Clan and Friends. Wu-Tang affiliate DJ Allah Mathematics is responsible for this compilation which includes appearances by RZA,, GZA, Ghostface, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Killah Priest and Shyheim. In similar vein to Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture, this album serves up classic Wu-Tang members with other rappers in the hopes of adding a fresh ingredient to the timeless Wu sound.
This album satisfies the need for new music from the Staten Island Crew. The vibe throughout the album is extremely soulful, and perhaps more subdued than other Wu recordings. While thereâ€™s not as many â€œbangersâ€ as one may expect from a Wu album, the sound is consistent throughout, utilizing great jazz, soul, and R&B samples. The strongest MCs on the disc are as one would expect: Ghost, Raekwon the Chef and Gza. The non-Wu members do a competent job on some scorching beats, but fail to leave a significant impression.
Appearances from Buddah Bless, Allah Real, and Streetlife, serve to showcase some of these lesser known MCs but donâ€™t carve their names in the concrete. One disappointment on the album is â€œWhereâ€™s Brooklyn @â€ with a clichÃ© Biggie sample and mediocre rhymes. This is one song that should have been relegated to the cutting room floor. The standouts are the songs that capture that classic Wu sound: â€œWu Bangaâ€ and â€œTreez.â€ All in all, the album is worth copping if only for some new Wu-shit to ride out to. The listener has to remember that this is a disc of B-sides and unreleased material, and if they manage their expectations for such, any fan will be pleasantly surprised.