Posts Tagged ‘wu-tang’

I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Wu-Tang’s Cappadonna to speak about his new release, Hook Off.

We talked the new album, his path from Park Hill to prison to today, and how his message has changed during the ride.

“Most popular hip-hop songs can only be remembered by a catchy hook, so with no hook the listener has no choice but to take in the lyrical content, flow and delivery of the artist, which is what this album comes packed with.”


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The engineer of the greatest hip-hop group of all time, chess aficionado, director, rapper, and producer of my favorite album of all time, Only Built For Cuban Linx… is my first pick in this draft. RZA doesn’t see music as concretely as most of us in the world do today, to him, music is a feeling, an abstraction of imagination. There are few who are as sharphis sounds are more like compositions that evoke not emotion, but metaphysical vision. What I mean to say is that he paints a picture. He establishes setting, an atmospheric aura that manifests an incredible range of mood.  His work on the trinity (Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Only Built For Cuban Linx… and Liquid Swords) is perhaps the best three album span of any producer. Not to mention his rapping is razor sharp, just listen to the third verse in “4th Chamber” above.

RZA is a mad scientist. In interviews with the Wu asking about RZA at the inception of the group, he was painted as an introverted artisan — holing himself up in his studio, bound to his craft. His sounds evolve exponentially and seem to scatter all across the hip-hop spectrum within a few years. From the gritty, metallic beats on Enter the Wu-Tang to the poetic criminality he let steep in Only Built For Cuban Linx… and then the cold existentialism picked out of thin air for Liquid Swords. These were the only albums when the production was on RZA and nobody else — he was given the helm to compose them and his vision and his vision alone is what every other Wu-Tang member loved and conformed to. 

When picking a fantasy label, we all here felt the need to take a producer with our first picks. We had an unspoken collective thought that choosing a producer first would be the most important selection, shaping our choices for the other artists to be picked for one’s label as the draft continues into deeper rounds. I thought to myself…who would I want to mold the artists that I sign to my label? The answer was easier than I could have imagined. Like many elite producers, RZA has countless gems and I’m showing off two of them that show the painter’s pallet RZA brings.

You know that “chipmink soul” that Kanye loves to use? Those sped up soul samples that sound like Alvin is singing them? That’s RZA being immortal. I would really love to meet him, and I hope I make him proud by trying to share his message.

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We had the good fortunes of speaking with DJ Symphony after the GZA show in Northampton the other night. We talked about Wu-Tang‘s upcoming Coachella and European tour dates, his upcoming project with Ghostface Killah, Certified Crack, and his independent station Radio Invasion. Less official business includes the division of the genre, the essence of hip hop, and, of course, jazz. He’s an incredibly entertaining guy and gave us an terrific interview. We’ll keep you all up to date on his upcoming projects.

Check us out tonight on Radio Invasion and WMUA 91.1 FM.

Check out the DJ schedule for this weekend here.

Follow @djsymphony

Filmed by Thugs Bunny

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Last night GZA was performing at the Pearl Street Night Club in Northampton. The venue was packed and he put on an unbelievable show. We were close, about two and a half rows back. At one point he hopped off stage and rapped on the floor in the midst of the mosh pit.  He was backed by DJ Symphony, who gave us a great interview after the show that you can expect up this Saturday.

This was our first live Wu-Tang experience and there was this overpowering feeling of something historically significant going on while watching The Genius just feet in front of us. He performed his verses of all the songs I was hoping to hear, like a kind of “Best Of” live show. At one point some bearded bozo hopped up on stage. Instead of losing his cool, GZA handed him the mic and offered him the floor. The fool quickly shrunk in the spotlight, speechless and pitiful. It wasn’t until then that GZA shoved that dude back to the crowd.

He was an incredibly engaging performer, finishing the show by performing four or five songs while walking throughout the crowd, nearly to the back of the auditorium. This was a man with nothing to prove and even less to fear walking among the common people, his fans, putting on what is sure to be remembered as so many individuals’ greatest concert experience of their lives.

GZA 008 GZA 007 GZA 006 GZA 009Rapping in the back of the club

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Old school hip-hop is back. If you’ve been listening to Joey Bada$$ and like what you’ve heard, then fellow member of the collective – The Progressive Era,  Dyemond Lewis, will be just what you need. It isn’t right to compare collectives like Wu-TangA$AP MobOFWGKTA, etc., so I won’t. I can and will say that this crew has tons of talent, consisting of roughly 20+ members with ventures stretching across and beyond music – producing, MCing, graphic design, clothing design, and photography. But regardless, silky smooth verses from Dyemond and a brilliant piano riff in the beat courtesy of producer Marvel make this something worthy of  more attention.

Download link here

Listen to Dyemond Lewis‘ song “The Meaning” (prod. by ProEra member Bruce LeeKix)

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On this Dilla Sunday, I present this track that is essentially a Wu-Tang song, containing much of the group, but with production by J. Dilla. The song is off of Raekwon’Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II (2009), and was rated 25th best album of 2009 by Rolling Stone, and 7th best by TIME MagazineThe original instrumental that Dilla produced is just over a minute long, but this lengthened version was perfect for a crew like Wu  to go over. The beat is high intensity, and the dudes from the clan tear it up exactly how it should be done – aggressively. The video, which is more than a full minute longer than the actual song, contains some awesome visuals, despite some gruesome themes.  This song is near peak-intensity of any Dilla production.

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