Album: Dreddy Kruger Presents…Think Differently Music: Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture
Score: 8.5 / 10
Reviewer: Nick D
Not to beat a dead horse, but hip-hop music in general has suffered from a chronic monotony over the past decade or so with very few exceptions. While there are many MC s, DJ s, and producers that continually push the envelope, they are a comparatively smaller group than the tired acts which seem to dominate the industry. Whenever the situation looks bleak, however, the aptly named RZArector, and at least some part of his crew from Shaolin-Island, always seem to answer the call.
Created by long time Wu-affiliate Dreddy Kruger as a response to this burgeoning commercial, cookie-cutter song style, “Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture”, in its attempt to quite literally “Think Differently”, abandons the lethargic verse-hook format in favor of the more dynamic posse track. Dreddy combines verses from some of underground rap €™s most formidable heavyweights with original Wu-production. The album €™s formula, then, is simple, but the results are nothing short of the explosiveness that listeners have come to expect from any release marked by the venerable €œW €.
The compilation features the likes of original Wu-members RZA, GZA, and U-God as well as other underground hip-hop favorites such as Ras Kass, Vast Aire, Casual, Tragedy Khadafi, M.F. Doom, Del The Funky Homosapien, Planet Asia, Aesop Rock, J-Live, and R.A. The Rugged Man among others. The production, which is handled by Bronze Nazareth, Preservation, RZA, DJ Noize, and Allah Mathematics, varies enough from track to track to be recognized as unique to the respective producer while remaining hard hitting from beginning to end so as to provide continuity as the album seamlessly transitions between tracks in traditional mixtape style.
After the album €™s instrumental introduction, the listener is treated to what is probably the album €™s standout track, ‘Lyrical Swords’. In terms of the compilation, this track serves a duel purpose. First and most importantly, it finally pairs arguably the two greatest MC s of all time, the GZA and Ras Kass. Genius and Ras continually distance themselves from other MC s with their concise, clean rhymes and ingenious wordplay. The fact that they have not combined forces is finally reconciled with this track. Secondly, the track foreshadows the rest of the album by disclosing to the listener what he or she can expect from the compilation €™s other acts. Instead of coming with their best material, the tandem spits very good verses that are indicative of each of their styles.
This idea is repeated throughout the album. Each MC €™s verse, rather than representing the pinnacle of his talent, acts as a cross section of his style and microcosm of his work as a whole. For example, while an MC like Aesop Rock, on his track ‘Preservation’, doesn €™t really say anything that the listener hasn €™t heard before, his abstract, poetic style is alive and well. Even though the RZA doesn €™t come with anything too daring on ‘Biochemical Equation’, he is as complex and scientific on the mic as ever. Although typically a flaw, the lack of lyrical innovation does not hurt the album in the least due to the variety of styles presented in addition to the album €™s solid production. The two exceptions to this formula are relative new comer Byata, who displays a hunger and ferocity on the mic that could quickly put her on the shortlist of the finest female MC s around, and U-God, whose dull, spiritless delivery is disappointing in comparison to his classic verses found on ‘Triumph’ and the rest of the Wu-Tang Forever double album.
What “Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture” is not is a Wu-Tang Clan album in the same vein as “36 Chambers”, “The W”, or “Iron Flag” . What it is, however, is an excellent Wu-compilation similar to the “Wu-Chronicles” albums, only this time with more continuity. The lack of lyrical invention, which is typically a downfall, is saved by the large assortment and top quality of the MC s presented. Because of this, “Dreddy Kruger Presents…Think Differently Music: Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture” is a must have for Wu-fans, underground fans, and hip-hop fans who are unfamiliar with the featured artists alike.