Wu-Tang Clan | The W | Loud

“We’re baaack!” sings Method Man just as Raekwon busts into the first verse of “Chamber Music.” And despite failing to put out a dope album, group or solo, since ’97, Method Man speaks the truth. The Wu is back and determined to make up for wasted time.

First off, and most importantly, RZA produced each song and produced them well. His best work usually occurs with slow, eerie beats like those found on “Hollow Bones” and “Careful (Click, Click).” After the beats, you have to give credit to the Wu lyricists for bringing the heat. Absent are the silly references to Italian and Cuban gangster-isms, replaced instead with the Enter the Wu-Tang-type verbiage that blew the Wu up in the first place. That’s not to say that The W is a complete warp back to ’93. “I Can’t Go to Sleep” freaks a totally ganked Isaac Hayes record, meaning that they didn’t even sample it; they just played the record and rhymed over it. Ghostface Killah and RZA rap as if they were crying, lamenting about how the injustices of the world won’t allow them to sleep. It’s totally different than anything you’ve heard from them or anyone else, and it’s good.

With only one obvious stumble on “Conditioner,” the Wu-Tang Clan has returned from the realm of monotony and matched the heights it reached early in its career. Time to jump back on the bandwagon. [Trey Clark]