CD REVIEW: GZA/GENIUS “PROTOOLS”

JLBarrow • August 22, 2008 • No Comments

All I need is a beat with a continuous loop and the live vibe that’ll hypnotize like the flute…” –GZA “Alphabets”

Hooray, GZA has a new CD out. We all know he can spit, but how do the beats sound on a CD he had the balls to call Protools?

Intromental
Produced by Dreddy Kruger
Pianos and horns so annoyingly familiar; meaning I can’t place the sample just yet but it’ll hit me as soon as I publish this. Feel like they changed the pitch on the horns to throw me off…Dope nonetheless…

Pencil Feat. Masta Killa &RZA
Produced by Mathematics
Jingling sleigh bells and claps lead this straightforward display of liquid swordsmanship.
I like the bassline that comes in here and there to add some drama, but wish it was used more often.

Alphabets
Prod by Tru Master
This 5 Percent lingo 101 cut flaunts a simple, dirty, guitar loop with drums and infirmary ward groans

Groundbreaking
Prod by Bronze Nazareth
Vintage Wu sound. Detuned mandolin strings over thick drums. I just see Afro Samurai walking down a dusty road with a sword by his side.

7 Pounds
Prod by Black Milk
A pairing I’d like to see more often. Milk puts his spin on the RZA soul chop with is crispy drums. The change up at 1:28 is great.

0% Finance
Prod by Jose “ChocoO Reynoso
Somebody named Mike lays some live guitar plucks over drums that are occasionally interrupted by some dramatic horn riffs. This is GZA’s extended metaphor cut in the same vein as “Labels” and “Publicity,” this time talking about a relationship with some chick using names of cars and automotive references.

Short Race
Produced by Arabian Knight
Nothing special here.

Paper Plate
Produced by RZA
This is when you really wish RZA would go back to doing his own style instead of deferring to his disciples. His live instrumentation just lacks the same energy and swagger of his sampled work. This plate is leaking.

Colombian Ties
Produced by Bronze Nazareth
The hardest drum pattern on the album. Love how Naz chops in that classic Joe Tex snare, but doesn’t pillage the entire thing.

Firehouse
Prod by Rock Marcy
Love the violins on this. Bassline is thick like a Fribble. Wish my headphones were better.

Path of Destruction
Prod by J Waxx Garfield
Another winner. Straightforward loop of mellow trumpets and strings with some overdubbed drums.

Cinema
Produced by Arabian Knight
Another guy named Christian (no last name again? Ya’ll hiding from the feds?) sprinkles some guitar on a sparse drum track while Arabian Knight adds some pseudo-Dr. Dre synth plucks. Not bad, but not amazing either.

Life is a Movie
Produced by RZA
This has the potential to sound like a hot mess between the space-age 80s synths and blaring guitar but RZA manages to hold it all together with some clever drum work.

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