The compilation is packed with hip-hop heavyweights like Kanye West, Pusha T, Talib Kweli and Wiz Khalifa. Also making appearances are the remainder of the Wu-Tang Clan, R&B singers Corinne Bailey Rae and Mable John, and indie rock band The Black Keys.
First things first: You cant really go wrong with Wu-Tang, whether its a whole album by the crew or just one that has their fingerprints all over it. This soundtrack leans more toward the latter; while all Wu members make at least one appearance, there is room for other artists to shine as well.
The album flows well from start to finish, with a finely constructed mix of hip-hop and other genres. Many of the songs have that dark, grimy Wu feel, but others are a bit more smooth and soulful.
RZA and The Black Keys come together for a great opening track, The Baddest Man Alive. RZA previously worked with the band on its hip-hop and rock collaboration album, Blakroc, and it seems theyve developed some musical chemistry. RZAs deep and raspy voice fits perfectly over the bands instrumentation. Add a hook from Dan Auerbach and youve got a great song.
Some of the better songs include White Dress and Tick Tock. The former is a Kanye solo effort with a soulful beat and great lyrics from the Chicago MC. The latter features Pusha T, Joell Ortiz, Danny Brown and Raekwon. These talented rappers all have different styles, but theyre blended perfectly on this unforgettable collaboration.
Another great track is Method Man, Freddie Gibbs and StreetLifes Built for This, which has a classic gangsta-rap feel, with the three rappers spitting ruthless verses over a hard-hitting beat.
Iron Fists R&B efforts, two of which come from the aforementioned singers, are pretty solid as well. While they might seem out of place on a hip-hop-heavy album, in reality, they provide a nice break from its dark and grimy orientation.
Its always refreshing to see a mix of genres, and its also great to see a mix of new-school and old-school rappers. RZA lined up a solid supporting cast for this soundtrack, and with the help of producers like Frank Dukes, did a great job on the projects production as well.
Overall, this disc is definitely worth a listen, and the predominately dark feel seems a good fit for the upcoming film. Ryan Querbach