Masta Killa: “Made in Brooklyn”

Man, my wife makes me crack up, even when she doesn’t mean to. We were in the car yesterday, rockin’ out to Ghostface’s Fishscale. I said that I wondered how many of the original Wu-Tang members showed up for a Phoenix concert in early August. (The only time I saw them like nine years ago, about half the Clan was missing.) So, Annie says, in all seriousness, “Are they still accepting new members?” It sounded like question for a country club: “Excuse me, Mr. RZA, are you still taking applications for this Wu-Tang Clan?”

Far as I know, Wu-Tang still consists of its original nine members (minus, ODB, of course, R.I.P.) with its extended family (Killah Priest, Cappadonna, etc.). It’s been a pretty busy year what with Fishscale, Method Man’s 4:21 The Day After and Inspectah Deck’s Resident Patient released this year. But the album that’s really taken me aback, if only because of his more anonymous status among Wu-Tang members, is Masta Killa’s Made in Brooklyn (Nature Sounds).

With appearances by all Wu members (of course), Made in Brooklyn also features production from MF Doom and the inimitable Pete Rock. Without the benefit of liner notes (I bought it at eMusic), I’m not sure of all emcee/production credits, which is too bad because the album’s first cut, Then & Now, features kids rapping – and rapping pretty damn tight, too.

But, no doubt, the hottest track is Iron God Chamber, a low-down, dirty jam with a choppy electric guitar sample that inspires recollections of what made Wu-Tang so great in the first place. (John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats describes the beat, correctly, as “tinny and oily.”) RZA’s turn is a little clumsy, but U-God, Method Man and Masta Killa make up for that, dropping verses succinctly timed to that disciplined beat. (Or, as my man Royce said, and I think Wu-Tang should use this for press releases: “I just punched myself in the face it’s so good.”)

For the first time in awhile, I was compelled to dust off 36 Chambers and Forever. Even with no production from Wu architect RZA, Made in Brooklyn has that distinct Wu-Tang sound. No matter the release, every Wu project feels … different. The production is polished but still raw, grimy; it never forgets where it came from: that’s to say, 36 Chambers, of course.

If you haven’t visited, the Wu-Tang Web site has mad downloads available.

Made in Brooklyn is available at eMusic.

Masta Killa (feat. U-God, Method Man, RZA) | Iron God Chamber

BONUS: Method Man | O.D.
(Bonus track off 4:21)

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