January 6, 2024

The Holidays Are Over Again


Well, that was fast. The 2023 edition of the Twelve Days of Wu-Mas has come to a close, and I hope you both enjoyed the gifts and goodies I left for you under the tree this time around. I realize that 2023 was kind of a rough year for the blog, given that there weren't any real updates apart from the RandoMax Radio links, but even though real life is currently kicking my ass, I'm pledging to do at least a little bit better in the new year. What that means, I don't know yet, but watch this space.

In the meantime, something I've been doing in order to preserve my sanity is trying to consume media that is new to me. Specifically, I try to keep lists of movies and albums that I've experienced each year that were brand new to me, regardless of their actual age, as a way to keep things fresh in my mind, and also to assist me with my whole "I like introducing people to music" thing, since the best way for me to tell you what's good is to seek it out myself first. I usually aim for one hundred of each media, which seems daunting but in reality is only like two films and two albums a week, and "albums" these days can be very fucking short, as we've seen on streaming services, so it's doable. If you're interested in taking that journey along with me, just start tracking the media you've ingested this year (caveat: it has to be new to you, don't just listen to Liquid Swords again and count it), and perhaps later in the year we can revisit this topic and share how we've grown and broadened our creative horizons or something. No judgment here - if you haven't yet watched The Godfather, that just means you could add it to your list if you'd like.

Anyway, be back soon,


January 5, 2024

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2023 - Day #12

Rounding out the annual holiday celebration is, once again, The RZA, who released three separate attempts to resuscitate his Bobby Digital persona in 2022. His third and final try, Digital Potions, was a vinyl-only affair released as a Record Store Day exclusive, and as we all know, limiting access to your work is always the best way to rebuild your fanbase, but I digress.

Digital Potions, which at one point was the working title for Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater so I guess RZA loved the name so much he couldn't just let it go, is a seven-song effort that seemingly provides hardcore Wu stans with what they'd been wanting to hear all goddamned year from the guy: the Abbot rapping, actually rapping, and over his own beats, no less. Well, mostly - there's one song that was outsourced. And there's guests featured on every fucking track, mostly the Reverend William Burke doing his best impression of Ghostface Killah on Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... You know what? I don't think this is what Wu stans wanted at all. Pity that most of them will never actually hear it to discover the harsh truth for themselves. Unless they (*cough*) look for it online or something (*cough*).

Click here to read my thoughts on Digital Potions, a former Patreon exclusive that is now available to everyone!


January 4, 2024

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2023 - Day #11

The fifth and final Wu-Mas mix of the season is upon us, and even though there's still one day left in this annual series, there's no need to fret, as Wu-Tang is forever, or so I've been told. There isn't anything especially tied into the holidays on any of this year's mix show playlist thingies, so they can be enjoyed at any time of year by anyone, including the five friends I'm going to ask you to share this year's mixes with in an effort to spread the word. There's some very good music here, some of it better known than most, and they are deserving of the widest audience possible, so why not try to convert your friends to what we older heads like to refer to as "real hip hop"?

The tracklist for the final Max-Approved Wu Mixtape of the holiday season appears below.

WU-MAS 2023 - DAY #11 MIX:

1. Black Knights – “Roundtable”
2. Raekwon – “Glaciers of Ice” (featuring Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, and 60 Second Assassin)
3. GZA/Genius – “Life Is a Movie” (featuring RZA and Irfane Khan-Acito)
4. Drunken Dragon – “How We Gets Down” (featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
5. Wu-Tang Clan – “Radioactive (Four Assassins)”
6. Wu-Tang Killa Beez – “Killa Beez (Original)”
7. U-God – “Rumble” (featuring Leathaface, Inspectah Deck, and Method Man)
8. Madaam Scheez – “The Sweatshop” (featuring Frukwan and Killarmy)
9. Black Knights of the North Star – “Diary of a Madman Pt. 2”
10. Solomon Childs – “Staten Island Stand Up”
11. CZARFACE & Ghostface Killah – “Face Off”
12. Bugsy Da God – “Howling Wolves” (featuring Islord, Killah Priest, Polite, and Trife Diesel)
13. Camouflage Large Clique – “Hear Me Out”
14. Method Man – “Party Crasher”
15. Inspectah Deck – “Shaolin Rebel”
16. School of the Gifted – “Once Again (School of the Gifted vs. 2nd Generation Wu)” (featuring PiRo, iNTeLL, and Young Dirty Bastard)
17. Cappadonna – “Bring It Out (Vodka Gravas ‘Holla & Moan’ Remix)” (featuring Wu-Tang Clan and Sunz of Man)
18. Gravediggaz – “Never Gonna Come Back”
19. Tekitha – “Ghetto Serenade” (featuring RZA)
20. Dreddy Krueger and Powerule Crew – “P.R.I.S.M.”

Enjoy the mix and the holiday season!


January 3, 2024

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2023 - Day #10

Lost Jewlry, and sadly that is not a misprint even though it bugs the shit out of me every goddamned day, is a mixtape-slash-compilation offering from Raekwon the Chef. It's made up primarily of tracks left off of his sixth solo album, Fly International Luxurious Art, which was released two years after this freebie hit the Interweb. Proofread that all you'd like, it doesn't make any fucking sense, but it's exactly what happened. It appears that Rae wanted to thank his fans for sticking with him even though his solo projects were taking longer and longer to drop, so he wanted to tide them over with some new music.

He did so with a twelve-track effort that contains zero Wu-related features, which one may see as a weird way to "thank" the stans that have looked up to the guy since Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Our host did score cameos from a then up-and-coming Freddie Gibbs and R&B songstress Faith Evans, which someone might enjoy, sure, and he secured beats from names such as Scram Jones, Buckwild, and Statik Selektah, none of whom are slouches behind the boards, so he might have been on to something here. Or not.

Click here to read my thoughts on Lost Jewlry (I hate that the poor spelling made it to the final product), a former Patreon exclusive that is now available to everyone!


January 2, 2024

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2023 - Day #9

We're firmly into 2024 now, so referring to this series as the Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2023 seems a bit ridiculous. No matter: we have a job to do, and we're going to do it to the best of our ability. Well, I have a job to do, anyway. You two lucky readers get to sit back and enjoy this fourth Wu-Mas mix that has been compiled for the holiday season, with twenty additional Wu-Tang and Wu-Tang-affiliated tracks to add to both your playlist and your Wu compendium that you keep inside your brain. There's some underground stuff here, some relatively obscure artists with Wu ties, and even a few tracks that you've probably heard numerous times. Yes, the Wu-Tang Clan could do it all without sacrificing their dignity, except for those points where that was exactly what they did, but, well, those moments don't appear on these mixes, because the prerequisite is that I have to actually like the songs.

The tracklist for the fourth Max-Approved Wu Mixtape of the season appears below.

WU-MAS 2023 - DAY #9 MIX:

1. Cilvaringz – “Valentine Day Massacre” (featuring 60 Second Assassin, 9 th Prince, Shabazz the Disciple, and Blue Raspberry)
2. Masta Killa – “Tiger and the Mantice” (featuring Inspectah Deck and GZA/Genius)
3. TMF – “This Is For My N----z” (featuring Black Knights, RZA, and Solomon Childs)
4. Remedy – “The Art Basel” (featuring Ghostface Killah and Shyheim)
5. Dom Pachino– “4 Kingsmen” (featuring Bugsy Da God, Tommy Whispers, and Trife Diesel)
6. Pop Da Brown Hornet – “Black on Black Crime”
7. Maccabeez – “Maccabean Revolt” (featuring Daddy Rose)
8. Inspectah Deck – “Show N Prove”
9. Wu-Tang Clan – “Ruckus in B Minor”
10. Gravediggaz – “Pass The Shovel”
11. Method Man, Streetlife, and Deadly Venoms – “Don’t Hold Your Breath”
12. RZA – “Enter the Wu-Tang (Demo)”
13. Killarmy – “Mediterranean Flow” (featuring Reverend William Burke and Cappadonna)
14. Willie the Kid x Bronze Nazareth – “Fucking Blades” (featuring La the Darkman)
15. Raekwon – “This Is What It Comes Too (Remix)” (featuring Ghostface Killah)
16. Blue Raspberry – “Mr. DJ”
17. Royal Fam – “All the Kings Men” (featuring Benny Boom, Dark Dennis, Mighty Jarrett, and Seventh Sign)
18. Heaven Razah x Toyko Cigar – “Book of Seven Fists”
19. Bugsy Da God – “Terminators” (featuring Dom Pachino, La the Darkman, Prodigal Sunn, and Trife Diesel)
20. The Orphanage – “Smoke Flow (featuring Kinetic 9 and Shogun Assasson)

Enjoy the mix and the holiday season!


January 1, 2024

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2023 - Day #8

RZA revived his Bobby Digital alter-ego on three separate occasions in 2022, each one exploring a different facet of the character while presenting the listener with a unified narrative journey. That's what I would have written had that last part actually been true, but I don't honestly believe that Prince Rakeem was thinking that far ahead when he was putting together the three separate Bobby Digital EP-length albums for release. Instead, he was likely more influenced by branding and marketing than anything else.

RZA Presents: Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes, which is admittedly a pretty cool title, performs double duty as both an album and as the musical accompaniment of a graphic novel by the same name co-written by RZA. The story finds our hero "embrac[ing] his id, ego, and superego [and] embark[ing] on a quest to figure out the nature of his reality and himself," or at least the press release claims, and that description just sounds fucking horrible. It does play as the natural endpoint for the Bobby Digital character, however, with RZA leaning all the way in to his more obnoxious traits and reading far more into a comic book superhero who originally fought crime while smoking honey-dipped blunts than absolutely necessary.

Click here to read my thoughts on RZA Presents: Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes, a former Patreon exclusive that is now available to everyone!


December 31, 2023

The Twelve Days of Wu-Mas 2023 - Day #7


Today we have the third installment in the Wu-Tang mix show series for 2023. I'm a huge Wu stan, even though the very term "stan" is problematic as shit, since you won't ever find me defending any member of the Clan whenever they do dumb shit online, and besides, you all have read my reviews trashing U-God in the past. That said, even I haven't listened to every single Wu-related offering out in the world, because my day job and my real life prevent me from discovering some mystical way of adding hours to one's day, and I'm willing to bet you two haven't either, so a lot of these tracks may be new to you, which is exciting, because I like introducing people to music.

The tracklist for the third Max-Approved Wu Mixtape of the season appears below.

WU-MAS 2023 - DAY #7 MIX:

1. 71Raw – “The Master & the Student” (featuring Rugged Monk and Solomon Childs)
2. Mathematics – “Four Horsemen” (featuring Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Method Man, and Raekwon)
3. Roc Marciano and Killah Priest – “Slugs Thru Ya Papaya”
4. Kinetic 9 – “Afro Soldier” (featuring Ho2fa and Leggezin Fin)
5. Frukwan – “The Gravedigger” (featuring The Holocaust, Killah Priest, Shabazz the Disciple, and Shaka Amazulu the 7th)
6. Ghostface Killah – “The Grain” (featuring The RZA)
7. Joe Young – “Crack Babies 2.0” (featuring Cappadonna, Masta Killa, Method Man, and Raekwon)
8. Ghostface Killah – “Sweet Violence (Bob James)” (featuring Raekwon)
9. Raekwon – “Rock ‘N Roll” (featuring Ghostface Killah and Jim Jones)
10. Raekwon – “Criminology” (featuring Ghostface Killah)
11. Big Bob x Solomon Childs – “Dungeon Masters” (featuring Ghostface Killah)
12. Buddha Monk – “Warrior Chiefs” (featuring Babyface Fensta, Drunken Dragon, Dutchmaster, Popa Chief, Shorty Shit Stain, Spiritual Assassin, and War)
13. North Star – “Luv Allah” (featuring Kinetic 9)
14. Timbo King – “Verbatim (Timbo King vs. Timbuktu)”
15. Gravediggaz – “Defective Trip (Trippin’)” (featuring Biz Markie and MC Serch)
16. Brooklyn Zu – “If I Had A Gun” (featuring Rugged Monk, RZA, and Shavo Odadjian)
17. Soul Kid Kilk – “Mortal Combat”
18. Gravediggaz – “The House That Hatred Built”
19. La the Darkman – “Fifth Disciple”
20. Wu-Tang Clan – “Careful (Click, Click)”

Enjoy the mix and the holiday season!