Wu-Block (Review)

Wu-Block is a collaboration album between Ghostface Killah (from Wu-Tang Clan) and Sheek Louch (of The Lox / D-Block). The two groups have collaborated many times in the past, so an album together seemed to be the natural progression of things. The self-titled album was released on November 27, 2012 and featured appearances from members of both camps.

1) Crack Spot Stories (featuring Raekwon and Jadakiss) - We begin the album with an instrumental by Fithestate, which uses the exact same sample as Masta Killah's R U Listening off of his recently released Selling My Soul album. Technically, Masta Killa's album was released after the Wu-Block album, but R U Listening had been floating around for a few years prior to that. Regardless, the beat is dope and Ghostface, Sheek and Raekwon bring it. I thought Jadakiss was going to rip into the beat, but he comes across has half asleep on here. Still, good way to start the album.

2) Pour Tha Martini (featuring Cappadonna) - The beat by John "Jmac" McCall sounds like its striving to be epic, but just doesn't quite reach those heights. Its energetic and sounds nice, but is just lacking a little something. Cappadonna sounds angry on here for some reason. This isn't terrible, but its not as good as the first track.

3) Pull Tha Cars Out (featuring Method Man) - Ok, this is much better. The instrumental, by Phonix Beats and The Futuristics, is dope and will get your head nodding. All three emcees sound great, but Method Man has the best verse. I really like this song.

4) Guns For Life (featuring Styles P) - Fithestate returns on the beat, which has some hard drums, horns and a vocal sample throughout. Similar to Nas I Gave You Power and 2Pacs Me and My Girlfriend, all three emcees personify their guns in the verses. The problem here is that we have heard this before, and heard it done better, on the previously mentioned tracks.

5) Comin' For Ya Head (featuring Styles P and Raekwon) - Vinnie Idol comes through to drop a slightly annoying beat. All four emcees come correct, but the beat is rough to sit through for four and a half minutes. Not a standout for me.

6) Cocaine Central (featuring Styles P) - The song starts off with a brief kung-fu skit and then blends into a dope instrumental by Shroom. Ghostface and Sheek spit some cocaine stories and Styles P provides the chorus. This is pretty good.

7) Take Notice - As mentioned on the intro to this song, Ghostface sounds like he was fighting a head cold while recording. This album took forever to come out and you tell me Ghost couldn't wait a day or two to record his verse? Anyways, the instrumental by John Woo is energetic and has some high pitched synths reminiscent of a West Coast beat. This could have been better.

8) Drivin' Round (featuring Masta Killah, GZA and Erykah Badu) - Termanology and Moose deliver an ill vocal sample that really tones down the energy after the previous song. Ghostface is nowhere to be heard, but Sheek, Masta Killah and GZA hold down the song just fine. GZA's flow is sleepy, but his lyrics are on point:
"What is the key to life, with no ignition?
Another jump start, then I'm on my mission
I keep ID, insurance, and registration
Wu music, good hemp for stimulation"
The chorus, by Erykah Badu, is subdued to match the beat. This is dope.

9) Different Time Zones (featuring Inspectah Deck) - Frank Dukes, who recently did some production on RZA's The Man With The Iron Fists soundtrack, drops an ill vocal sample for all three emcees to wreck. As usual, Inspectah Deck comes in and destroys the track:
"I’m doing my thing, how I’m repping, they salute king
And they don’t even know I’m Wu-Tang"
Another ill track. Deck always comes with a the crazy guest spots.

10) Stick Up Kids (featuring Jadakiss) - As far as I know, this song is the only single from the album. The beat, by Red Spyda, is ok, but not great. I'm not sure why they decided to release this as the single since there are much better tracks on here. All three emcees come correct and the beat is full of crazy energy, but I'm just not really feeling it.

11) All In Together (featuring Styles P and Jadakiss) - I was hoping for a grittier sound from a track with a name reminiscent of the group All In Together Now, which was made up of RZA, GZA and ODB. How crazy would an album from them have been? Anyways, this track is produced by V Don and its aight. So far the highlights on this album have been few and far between. I mean, these tracks are not horrible, but they are not great either.

12) Do It Like Us (featuring Raekwon) - This beat sounds nothing like an Erick Sermon production to me. He has been pretty hit-or-miss for the past few years, and this beat is just borderline good. There is nothing that really stands out about this song.

13) Stella (featuring Method Man) - This is better. All three emcees spit a story over a banging beat by Last Child. This track reminds me of Yolanda's House off of Ghostfaces Big Doe Rehab album. Very ill.

14) Been Robbed - Joe Milly provides a humorous vocal sample for the instrumental while Ghost and Sheek spit robbery stories. This somewhat reminds me of the concept tracks such as Kilo and Whip You With A Strap off of Ghostfaces near-classic Fishscale album. Dope song.

15) Bust Shots (featuring Inspectah Deck) - Frank Dukes returns and drops a banging instrumental that will get your head nodding. Ghostface and Sheek sound good, but Inspectah Deck once again takes the crown:
"Cracking your dome for breakfast
Deck spit lava
Fresh like the produce section
Repping, there's no use testing, you know who stepped in
It's Deck bitch, for those who question"
This track was also on The Man With The Iron Fists soundtrack, so I'm not quite sure why it shows up on here as a bonus track. Either way, the song is actually one of the best songs on the album.

I'm going to rate the album a

3 / 5

since the album has a few filler tracks and some weak beats. That being said, there are some really dope songs on here and Ghostface and Sheek are consistently good. It's hard to put my finger on it, but the album has a "rushed" feel and I'm not quite sure why since it took forever to come out. Still, you should check this out mainly for tracks like Pull Tha Cars Out, Different Time Zones, Stella and Drivin' Round.


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