Wednesday, 18 July 2007

"rock boats underwater, watch clams"

Urb magazine has a fun feature on the top twenty Wu-Tang videos.

A couple of hours of shape-throwing, kung-fu-sampling, winter-wear-sporting, sword-brandishing and (pace Ghostface) shark-jumping good times. Here are two that didn’t make the cut and should have:

Ghostface (feat. Raekwon) – ‘Apollo Kids’

When I saw the Wu ten years ago Ghostface mooched around the stage in a similar dressing gown, not saying much. Maybe it was a stand-in weed carrier. Raekwon and Method were incredible, though.

Anybody know where I can get a Citizen Kane-style Tony Starks ‘Work’ poster? Ghostface is on some next-level steez right there.

Wu Tang Financial

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In other news

Lots of blogs are debating the suggestion that Ghostface didn’t write Supreme Clientele. According to 50 Cent’s asinine weed-carrier and alleged child-molester Tony Yayo, a currently-incarcerated budget Ghost-clone called Superb, who turns up a few times on Clientele and Bulletproof Wallets, penned the whole thing. If so, well done Superb! And well done to Ghostface for making about twenty other cracking albums without Superb (though maybe at some point down the line Kleptomaniac will tell the press that Shawn Wigs wrote Fishscale). Also this week, Smoking Section ran a piece responding to claims that Biggie, Jay-Z, Cam’ron, Snoop and a few rappers less feted for their creativity have had help writing rhymes from time to time.

Aren’t all these furores about ghost-writing a little naïve? Like kayfabe in wrestling, rappers and listeners need to get over the whole issue. For most rappers, and particularly for Ghostface, delivery is as important as content (particularly when the content is well-nigh incomprehensible). There’s no reason for collaborative writing or even ghost-writing to be a bar to enjoyment. Nor is having written rhymes without the creative or critical input of another living soul the only route to artistic merit, or even to the expression of an individual voice. (Disclosure: I never publish a blog post without asking my mum about it first). Famous MCs don’t really hang out on the corner selling crack and shooting each other all day – they work on rhymes together in the studio. It’s childish to think a rapper who trots out well-worn clichés as unimaginatively as Yayo has greater access to artistic truth than an inventive rapper who’s polished his ideas by sitting down with someone else from time to time. Biggie undoubtedly did this with the Lox, Jay-Z with Beanie Sigel, Ice Cube with D.O.C. and Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Wu with each other and hundreds of ‘affiliates’, Wilfred Owen with Siegfried Sassoon

More fun:
Whoever the hell wrote it, damn well buy Supreme Clientele

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