Thursday, 20 February 2003

Album Review: Golden Arms Redemption

This release really seems to have divided opinion. Much of the music press slated it as yet another below-par Wu release, but many of the Wu faithful suggested that it was an overdue return to form. Unfortunately, I have to side with the press on this one.

In what is sadly becoming something of a trend the majority of the album sounds rushed; the likes of Dat’s Gangsta, Lay Down and Hungry are extremely tepid for a member of the Wu. Despite the LP carrying his name, U-God isn’t solely to blame for this, one of the posse tracks, Rumble, is actually one of the worst. While Leatha Face, Method Man and Inspectah Deck do inject much needed emotion and passion into proceedings, the song possesses a truly awful chorus, “Rage, rock, roll, fight, brawl, fall, RUMBLE.” If the Blazing Squad had written it, you wouldn’t be surprised. It isn’t the last time that U-God is caught short in the lyrics department. Worse still is found on Stay In Your Lane where U-God, in what must be a first for a hip hop record, actually uses the line, “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.”

Fortunately there are moments where U-God shows signs of the talent that brought him to the game in the first place. Turbulence gives the album a good start. True Master does his best impersonation of Rza’s production style mixing heavy bass with trademark Wu strings. Elsewhere, the first single Bizarre is a decent slab of upbeat hip hop and Shell Shock carries the attitude one associates with the Wu.

U-God’s biggest problem is that he seems utterly unemotional on every track. While his contemporaries; Method Man, ODB and Ghostface Killah have managed to carve their own niche within the Wu universe, U-God just doesn’t sound interesting enough for the listener to bother hearing. Sadly it is this coupled with the childish lyrics and uninspired production that make this album completely disappointing.

A lot of people have a lot of good to say about this LP. However, Golden Arms Redemption did not do anything for me. Wu completists should give it a listen, but there are far, far better albums carrying the Wu name out there for the uninitiated.

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