GZA – “Pro Tools” review

Just 3 years after having DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill produce his last album Grandmasters in it’s entirety, The Genius (GZA) of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan is now hitting us with his 6th full-length album. The album’s first song “Pencil” sees GZA getting with fellow Wu member Masta Killa as well as the Clan’s de facto leader RZA to talk about their own styles over a soulful beat from Mathematics & while most people assumed that GZA would outshine everyone on here, it’s surprisingly the closing verse from RZA on this track that steals the show & it could very well be one of the best verses he’s ever spit on wax. If you couldn’t tell by the title of the next track “Alphabets”, it’s GZA talking about the Supreme Alphabet & the beat True Master brings to the table on here had some mellow piano chords throughout. Not only do I love how GZA & his son Justice Kareem spit together in the closing verse of the next track “Groundbreaking”, but the Dee Dee Warwick sample that Bronze Nazareth chops up on here was pretty cool too. However, the hook on here is a modernized version of the hook on “Wu Gambinos” (off of Raekwon’s perfectly crafted solo debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…) & it’s just ok. The track “7 Pounds” is basically GZA talking about saving hip hop from being watered down & Black Milk’s upbeat soulful production on here is flawless. The track “Short Race” has a gloomy beat from Arabian Knight but lyrically, GZA & the criminally underrated Roc Marciano tell a vivid story about a kid who’s fucking up his life. The track “Paper Plate” is a diss track against 50 Cent & while I’ve always fucked with G-Unit, GZA puts 50 in check as expected & RZA’s production fits the vibe perfectly. The track “Columbian Ties” is a story about about criminal who eventually loses his life at the end & the Barry White sample Bronze Nazareth flips on here makes me get into fight mode. The next track “Firehouse” has a beautifully orchestral beat from Roc Marciano & for whatever reason, it’s Ka spitting on the track instead of GZA. It’s not a bad track at all but it would make more sense to me if I heard this as a bonus track on Ka’s debut Iron Works, which came out at the very beginning of the year this album was released (2008). While I enjoy the evil atmosphere on the track “Cinema”, GZA’s whispered delivery on here had to grow on me to be honest. The track “Life’s a Movie” sees both The Genius & The Abbot going back & forth with each other comparing life to a theatrical movie & the way RZA flipped “Films” by Gary Numan on here is clever as Hell. I prefer his previous album Grandmasters more, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Hopefully, Dark Matter (if we’re still getting it at this point) will be better than both albums combined

Score: 4/5

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