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Wu-Block, Wu-Block Review

It’s been almost 15 years since Money, Power & Respect dropped, and nearly twenty since Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) changed hip-hop forever. If the Wu-Block album had been announced in 1999, it would’ve garnered an incredible amount of hype, but today, in a hip-hop industry that could be described as “in-transition,” Ghost & Sheek’s epic collab LP dropped relatively quietly. The music, however, is far from quiet, and maintains the level of lyrical consistency we’ve come to expect from these two mainstays of the old guard of East Coast hip-hop.

Billed as a Ghostface Killah/Sheek Louch collaboration—though originally conceived as a collaborative project between all of Wu-Tang & D-Block—the 14-track offering features notable contributions from both rappers’ respective camps. It’s a lyrical gangbang of sorts featuring some of the most recognizable voices in hip-hop. Sonically, the album is cohesive. The sound is grimy but big—the only exception being the smooth, Gza-, Masta Killa- and Erykah Badu-assisted “Drivin’ Round”—with production contribution ranging from no-names like the Bay Area’s Fithestate, to legends like Erick Sermon. There aren’t any obvious singles or standout tracks, but there is a consistency in the production and the bars that lives up to expectations.

That’s not to say that there aren’t definite highlights. On “Take Notice,” which follows a voicemail interlude where Sheek Louch is trying to get a hold of a bed-ridden Tony Starks before they hop a flight to Europe, Pretty Toney comes through and drops one of the strongest verses on the album with a noticeable cold-induced rasp to his voice. (“From here to La Cienega, I do hood yoga/I pull muscles countin’ money, need a new shoulder.”)

For heads of both D-Block and Wu-Tang, Wu-Block is a lyrical wet dream. Ghost and Sheek complement each other well, and their chemistry on the album is bolstered by appearances of their legendary compadres. The formula, however, isn’t new, and in some ways the project sounds unavoidably dated. The bars are more than on point, the beats are solid, but the vision as a whole feels inescapably static, which is a quality that has worked against recent releases by both camps.

Wu-Block stays true to its roots and makes no compromises in pursuit of airplay. While the tides of hip-hop may be in flux, and the release might not break any new ground, the collaborative LP is a genuine and welcomed addition to the modern hip-hop landscape—reminding listeners that the two crews can still rap circles around your favorite rapper, and that nobody can do so quite like they can. —Nick De Molina (@odmod)

  • thetruth

    originality wasn’t the point. yall fell the fuck off a long time ago. if you want something OG go listen to Dr. Octagon or some shit. no idea’s original

    • E

      A low originality score just means these guys are just rapping their asses off. It’s cool, but the project doesn’t push any sonic boundaries.

      • Jay Runnings

        Why don’t ya’ll just appreciate the music instead of spending time on being so critical. Let’s see you put out an album and do legendary things!?

        • Jaeki Cho

          I think you’re on the wrong site for that. This isn’t a Wu-Block fan site. And for the record, I’m a huge Wu-Tang fan.

  • West Coastah

    wtf a fan of Rihanna reviewing a Wu album? ha haha stickem

    4,5/5

  • L-train

    XXL credibility further decreases with each review…how the fuck you give this an L but it has two things that are XL and then give meek mill album overall an XL and it had two things with L..smh…swear its politics and nonsense in the rap game now

    • Nick de Molina

      I didn’t write the Meek review. And I can promise you my rating has nothing to do with politics or nonsense. For arguments sake, lets break it down like this: an S rating would mean the album is shit; M, the album is okay I guess; L, this is a good, solid album; XL – this is a great album; XXL – this is a perfect album. Obviously, this stuff is all subjective, but I would consider Wu Block to be a good, solid album.

  • L-train

    and I fuck with Meek Mill but be for real with the reviews man or more detailed with the system cause some of these reviews just don’t make sense rating wise

  • big c-doola

    Wow…XXL and Source continue to show why they need to be disregarded when it comes to reviews. This is why hip hop journalism is in the toilet. Horrible.

  • Peter Hahn

    this review doesnt match your X-XL-XXL ratings, because its a new era and hip hop is in transition, u give it an L, WTF?!?! who else besides cats in this era & a few like currensy, j cole, b.o.b. etc, spit like this?

  • Peter Hahn

    everybody’s a critic, what ever happened to just simply supportin good musak without these social fagz telling some easy influenced what the lp sounds like, man support good musak and listen for your self

  • SS87

    You have to be MOTHERFUCKING KIDDING me about ANY of this being an L. XXL takes another dick in the butt on this one smh.

  • Joecal

    It does make sense xl (4)… xl (4)… m (3)… average would be L….. 4 + 4 + 3 = 3.6 (L). I know math is hard.

    • carAnthony

      you must be a fuckin bad in math then… 3.6 is closer to xl than l, mad ass boy

  • budtv

    Wtf…WU BLOCK deserves A XXL….at least a XL…the reviewer is clearly from texas or new mexico lol.. REAL TALK

  • http://www.facebook.com/OddBeatz Beat Konstruckta

    Ok album… L at best.