Wu-Massacre isn’t a revolution or a revelation, as much as it is a retooled remembrance of earlier and simpler times in the history of the Wu dynasty. The album is a collaboration between long-time members of the inner circle, Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. They interact like old friends--or war buddies--now able to relax over a rap and casually flaunt their mastery through the barrel of a mic.
Perhaps they recognize the similarities between this new work and old classics by starting the album strongly with “Criminology 2.5,” a retread of Raekwon’s “Criminology” off the seminal Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, this time with a faster beat and tighter lyrics. Following another throwback to Method Man’s earlier work with “Mef vs. Chef 2,” the album gets into some new territory, effectively leaving the old neighborhood behind in favor of some respectably experimental material.
One that sticks out is the instantly memorable “Our Dreams.” The song begins with an infectious sample from Michael Jackson’s 1975 single “We’re Almost There,” building to a heart-wrenching crescendo before dropping off into a smooth, mellow rap. The contrast provides the feeling of preparing for flight only to find yourself floating in ethereal melodies and thick lyrics. Though initially jarring, and possibly even manipulative, the end result is worth it.
My personal favorite song on the album is the Ghostface solo, “Pimpin’ Chipp,” a raw tale-from-the-streets kind of story layered over a Blaxploitation-inspired funk beat, complete with the wah-wah wailing of an electric guitar and the explosive chorus of an army of trumpets. It’s one of the most high-energy songs on the album and it’s hard not to be struck by such a fast-moving vehicle.
Overall, the album is a brief but solid entry into the ever-expansive canon of the dynasty that, if nothing else, will leave you remembering why nobody can get enough of the Wu.