Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Wu-Tang Clan: The W [Loud, 2000]
Can't swear they've taken their moral vision much beyond "Handle your bid and kill no kids," although only rarely does it get worse and I like the bit where Yacub talk segues into doo-wop cliché as if it's all the same old song--which song then segues into tales of chattel slavery. But for all its rapped W-Unity, this is RZA's record almost as much as the so-hypnotic-it's-slept-on Ghost Dog. He serves up a bounty of song-centered musique trouvée and stomach-churning beats from anywhere--sleighbells and box-cutters and moans and explosions and drums and horns and huh? and violins and Esther Phillips coming in at the right wrong moment every goddamn time. Far from straining, he's gone sensei, achieving a craft in which the hand leads the mind. Anyway, that's how it sounds--which since this is music is what counts. A-