I must say, when I first heard that Sheek Louch of D-Block and Ghostface Killah of Wu Tang Clan were creating a joint album called Wu Block, I was cynical. It reeked of a money grab to me, a ploy to stay relevant and cash in by two MCs from crews that established themselves in eras where uncompromising street hip-hop could still sell a million units and be on the radio.
I was wrong. This is no half-assed effort to capitalize on status rather than substance. From the previews, this project sounds like a solid merger of generally the best qualities of both teams. Not that it’s two seperate universes aligning or anything — Wu Tang and D-Block were always kindred spirits, the former maybe integrating a bit more of soul and the abstract while the latter was always uncompromisingly street. So it’s no surprise to say the marriage works.
While Sheek and Ghostface spearheaded the projects, members of their respective crews make numerous appearances throughout the project. In fact, the lead single “Drivin Round,” doesn’t actually feature Ghost, instead its Masta Killa and GZA that fly the Wu flag on the mellow cut. Produced by Termanology of all people (a relatively new NY rapper that in this bitter critics’ mind is basically a byproduct of folks like Wu Tang and D Block), the music is easy on the ears. Longtime hip-hop supporter Erykah Badu joins the fun as the album’s only non-MC guest, singing the chorus on the cut.
Without pretention, it looks like two veteran squads united to drop one of the year’s best hip-hop albums.