July 22, 2007

Cappadonna - The Pillage (March 24, 1998)

Darryl Hill, known to his birth parents as Cappadonna Fitzpatrick, was groomed by the Wu-Tang Clan to be its unofficial tenth member. A memorable appearance on Raekwon's "Ice Cream" and his scene-stealing twelve-hour-long verse on Ghostface Killah's "Winter Warz" had cemented his deal with The Rza's Epic Records imprint, Razor Sharp Records (which was also home to Ghostface at the time). Cappadonna also enjoyed his time in the spotlight as the primary guest star on Wu-Tang Forever, the double-disc group effort. The stars seemed to align for Darryl Hill, and massive record sales were all but guaranteed.

However, The Rza's five-year plan culminated with Wu-Tang Forever, which came out a year prior to The Pillage, Cappa's first solo outing. As should be expected, The Pillage did not contain wall-to-wall Rza production. Also, Cappadonna seemed to have been adopted by only a few of the other Clan members, namely Rae, Ghost, and Method Man; the other members (apparently) could give a fuck about him. You will notice later in the review that Ol' Dirty Bastard, Gza/Genius, Masta Killa, and Inspectah Deck are nowhere to be found on The Pillage. Combine these facts with the knowledge that Cappadonna's lyrical prowess seemed to have peaked with "Winter Warz" (his Forever contributions were often forgettable), and you have a Wu-affiliate that falls into the same trap as the rest of them; namely, he wasn't good enough to be on the A-team, and since U-God had already filled the role of weed and baggage handler for the core group, there wasn't much else for him to do.

Although it should be noted that Cappadonna clearly had a much bigger budget to work with than, say, Killah Priest or the Wu-Syndicate. But I digress...

1. SLANG EDITORIAL
Cappa tries to start the show on the right foot, including much-needed kung-fu samples before the first, True Master-produced song kicks in. "Slang Editorial" was also the first single, and it tries too hard to sould like vintage Wu-Tang. It's not awful, but it comes off sounding like a Wu clone, which there were already plenty of in 1998.

2. PILLAGE (FEAT KILLA BAMZ)
Killa Bamz, now better known as Solomon Childs, is in my opinion one of the better Wu-Tang C-teamers.

3. RUN
The Rza had produced two different songs entitled "Run": one for Ghostface Killah (and featuring Jadakiss from The Lox) for The Pretty Toney Album, and this one. They don't share the same beat or anything; my guess is that Ghost realized this song sucked and felt that nobody would notice if he "borrowed" the song title for his far-superior track.

4. BLOOD ON BLOOD WAR (FEAT KILLA BAMZ)
This is the song most people use to pinpoint the exact moment Cappadonna rhymed himself into obscurity. "Old special ed with the plate in my head / Bad bread, spare life / KKK on the mike / Power like thing of state / What!" I'm sorry, but what the fuck does that even mean? That's a rhetorical question, don't bother leaving comments; this just proves that Cappa, even with the Wu support and the bigger budget, had no real skills on the mic, and decided to string random words together like Kool Keith or Sadat X, or even Ghostface himself. The difference being, of course, that they're all better artists than Cappa could even wish to be.

5. SUPA NINJAZ (FEAT U-GOD & METHOD MAN)
This song features, by no small margin, the motherfucking best verse U-God has ever recorded. Seriously. I don't know if U-God had a fantastic encounter with some groupie the night before, or if he was just in a good mood because The Rza hadn't smacked him with a rolled-up newspaper for not dipping his blunts in honey again, but U-God brought it on "Supa Ninjaz". Of course, Method Man out-raps him anyway, but since I mention repeatedly how much U-God sucks as a rapper, I felt it only fair to mention when he's actually great. Oh, and Cappa's on here, too.

6. MCF
The Rza gave Cappa five beats, all of which may have been better handled by, oh, let's just say, Inspectah Deck. I mention Deck since he was supposedly the next one from the Clan to put out a solo debut, but for some reason, Rza fucked him over to give the buying public this plastic frisbee otherwise known as The Pillage. Cappa sounds like he's just freestyling in the booth, forcing phrases and ideas together as if trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. And he sound slike this on every goddamn song. Sigh...

7. SPLISH SPLASH
Oh, come on! Just by reading the title alone, you know this song's going to suck.

8. OH-DONNA (FEAT GHOSTFACE KILLAH)
Tony Starks murders Cappa on his own shit. Which you should have expected; he is Ghostface Killah, after all.

9. MILK THE COW (FEAT METHOD MAN)
Every beat on The Pillage is mixed down just enough to give a hint of grimy Wu-Tang flavor. However, I couldn't imagine any other Wu member rhyming on this instrumental. (Meth sticks with hook duties on here.)

10. SOUTH OF THE BORDER
The beat, produced by True Master, is intriguing, but it's just not enough for me. The Pillage may sound great as an instrumental album. (Ultimate Wu plug!)

11. CHECK FOR A N---A
Did Cappa just say that he "fuck(s) crazy vagina"? Wow, that was unnecessary. Just like The Pillage in general. Not to show my cards before you finish reading this review, but...

12. DART THROWING (FEAT RAEKWON & METHOD MAN)
Johnny Blaze rips his second Pillage verse, and Raekwon brings out the Cuban Linx steez. Cappadonna, in comparison, brings his Fisher Price My First Timberlands out and sticks around for only about 16 bars (if that; I got so bored that I lost count).

13. YOUNG HEARTS (FEAT BLUE RASPBERRY)
A good marketing trick many companies use tis to affix a brand name that most people recognize onto a new product, in an effort to bring in new customers. As if the Wu-Tang logo wasn't enough, Cappa brings Wu songstress Blue Raspberry out of seclusion, but that doesn't help this horrible song.

14. EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING (FEAT RHYME RECCA)
Meh.

15. PUMP YOUR FIST (FEAT TEKITHA & KILLA BAMZ)
Actually, this song features the best Rza track on The Pillage. Solomon Childs sounds great on here; almost makes me hope that he somehow obtains Rza tracks for his eventual solo effort. Tekitha, however, sounds awkward as a rapper, just like she did on the Bobby Digital project. Oh, and Cappa's on here, too, with his "vanglorious darts", which must be his way of saying "shitty rhyme flow".

16. BLACK BOY (FEAT TEKITHA)
Why bother? It's not worth your time to hear this one anyway.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The Pillage is the hip hop equivalent of Evan Almighty: a spinoff project from a top-selling group where, even though a lot of the original talent returns to help, can't quite recreate the magic of the original. However, Darryl Hill is no Steve Carrell; Carrell will take his considerable talents into other projects and succeed, as Evan Almighty was just a misstep. Cappa, on the other hand, has just single handedly proven to me that he never deserved a solo record deal (he actually sounds better where he is now, as a sometimes-member of Ghostface's Theodore Unit), and should never have been considered as the tenth member of the Clan. Of course, allegations of bringing in an FBI informant under false pretenses into the Wu's employ wouls lead to Cappa being kicked out and being forced to drive a gypsy cab around New York as The Rza fucked him out of royalty payments anyway, but that's all backstory for another time.

BUY OR BURN? The Pillage is not worthy of your purchase. There are a handful of decent songs here, but they all feature other rappers outshining the main attraction. A burn is recommended, with caution, as the majority of this album sucks; at least, if you like both beats and rhymes, or music in general. If you hate rap music, you make find this album tolerable.

BEST TRACKS: "Supa Ninjaz"; "Dart Throwing"; "Oh-Donna"

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Wu-Tang Clan - Wu-Tang Forever
Ghostface Killah - Ironman
Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
Method Man - Tical 2000: Judgement Day

44 comments:

  1. Although I disagree with you on cappadonna not being a good emcee, his albums have always been pretty crap.

    Completely agree on the Evan Almighty opinion though - that film was a big disappointment, i actually didn't laugh once in the whole film. I probably didn't even smile - it was dull.

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  2. I sort of disagree with this review. The Pillage was really a more than decent album. Cappa did get outshined on most of it but the beats were good enough for the most part to make up for it. Sland Editorial's production is superb as is Pump up your Fist. Oh Donna still gets spins today as well. That being said, I really like your reviews. The song by song format makes a lot of sense and is very underused. I've been writing reviews like that since high school...

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  3. Laughing my ass off at "or if he was just in a good mood because The Rza hadn't smacked him with a rolled-up newspaper for not dipping his blunts in honey again".
    Great use of imagery there.
    Spot on Cappadonna analysis. I liked his verses on Fishscale much better than the ones on Ironman.

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  4. AHHHH, THAT COMMENT FUCKIN CRACKED ME UP TOO! AHHHH LOL. u-god....lol
    still a good review. you really rip the mutha fucka if their flawed eh max. i know what your saying, but cappadonna can still rip it......once in awhile. mans got the long flow, but if you cant ryhme then you may as well be..(Old special ed with the plate in my head) krutchin that shit around tha studio i guess. yo peace maw

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  5. i wonder why i bought this in retrospect, i agree the instrumentals are banging for the songs, but cappa is awful on the mic

    that "kkk on the mic" quote is one of the worst ever. Can't forget the classic "I came to the fork in the road and went straight" off slang editorial.

    This is easily one of the least listened to wu discs i have (alas, i dont have any u-god albums!)

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  6. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessJuly 23, 2007

    Yet another quality review from the bane of wack rappers everywhere. Maximus stays trashin skits and fools whose rhymes are wack as shit. The funny thing about this album for me is that I was still so caught up in the mystique and hype of the Wu at this point that I insisted that this shit was banging when I copped it on the release date. I actually took the bus to the mall to cop it. When I got home me and 2 other Wu-groupies ate a bunch of shrooms and let Andrew Jackson's brilliance wash over us. When it started with kung-fu we went bananas. By the time Super Ninjas came on we were feelin the shrooms and proclaiming The Pillage to be the greatest thing since Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. I literally played the CD during every waking moment for 3 days. I was also high on mushrooms for the same 3 days. If you're hallucinating it's easy to believe that Donna's nice with it. Truth be told, he had one good verse on Wu-Tang Forever and had already shown his limitations way before he ever squeezed out this turd.

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  7. I honestly loved this album when it dropped and I STILL do. I disagree with this review completely...although "The Yin & Yang" was a drink coaster/doorstop/alternate shuriken choice and after the release of Ghostface's "Bulletproof Wallets" Cappadonna fell off the map lyrically..."The Odd Couple" ws so horrid that the Raekwon/Ghostface/Cappadonna "Crayons" project was scrapped and turned into the unfinished "R.A.G.U." project.

    One.

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  8. fuck you max. you dont know good hip hop.

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  9. I think that rest of caps album's are not worth another spin...but I disagree with "The Pillage", this shit is pretty decent , and although it isn't perfect in any way, it still got replay value. Capp has potential, but he doesn't seem to squeeze it out....

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  10. best tarck oh donna? wtf?
    that's crap!
    tha best tracks on this album are everything is everything , the pillage and black boy
    tahts its fo every listener of true hip hop...
    i been hear this shit since the beginning so , dont be disrespectful wit ya thoughts

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  11. the author comes off like a (very) low quality byron crawford clone.

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  12. I totally agree with you when you say that RZA's beats (and True Master's too) should have been for the Inspectah's album, it was exactly what I think when I listen to The Pillage, that production is too much for Cappadonna..

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  13. AnonymousJuly 27, 2009

    lol i pick U God over cappa anyday, cappa sounded tight back then in 95-97 , but fell of quickly,

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  14. cappadonna is awfully garbage

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  15. cappa has the knowledge to make a decent albu, but he doesnt show it

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  16. AnonymousJune 17, 2010

    Once Again, a bunch'a "non-hood", No nothin', contribute nothin' ta Hip-Hop ass suburbanites, tryna critique an MC who put his work in (Cuban Linx, Ironman, Wu-Tang Forever...). This album was NO WHERE NEAR Bein' wack!!! Then again, what should I expect from a bunch'a dudes who think the opinion they have, meanz ANYthing, ta ANYOne. My "Rule of thumb" iz this: if you can't say it in person, keep it ta yaself... jag offs...

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  17. Maybe I'm stupid but... how do you count bars ?

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  18. Damn Max, you are harsh. It's a shame you overlook Tekitha's great hook on "Black Boy". Watch the video too, she's absolutely stunning!

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  19. cappadonna is a fag. any man who calls himself "donna" HAS to be gay.

    that is all.

    end communication.

    are you seeing a running theme here?

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  20. Your review is interesting but highly flawed. Pillage is actually a slept on Wu album that deserves more respect. Cappa's rhymes are fine and the beats are on point (in fact RZA's production -minus 97' mentality- is pale in comparison to Tru Master, 4th Disciple, and Goldfingaz); "Black Boy", "Everything is Everything", "Dart Throwing", "The Pillage", "Slang Editorial", "Splish Splash", and "Check for a Nigga" are all worth listening to.

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  21. Fact: Tony Sirico, who plays Paulie from the Sopranos, gets killed in the video of Slang Editorial.
    I think Cap was alright here in patches. Still don't really know what happened to him though. Weed?

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  22. Damn... This is messed up lol. This album is incredible. Hell, I prefer Wu-Afilliates over the Clan most of the time.

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  23. THIS ALBUM IS DOPE!!!

    You people dont know good shit. you are idiots

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  24. Listened today. This album is actually kinda good.

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  25. you don't like cappa's "I speculate, get my darts straight, don't exaggerate, dictate, do it with the papermate, set the plate, set the bait, checkmate, fuckin with cha mental state, double take, meditate, earthquake, VGL contemplate, big boys integrate; catch you at the sess skate, army tank, high rank, got the bank, got the shank"? 18 rhymes or sorta-rhymes there off the first word.

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  26. Nah man this review is flawed, the pillage wack? Cap may not be the most lyrically gifted wu affiliate, but saying this album is wack is pretty harsh, the beats on this sh#t are crazy, I just wish he had featured Rae & Ghost more & other Wu tang members then you would be singing a different song, even Rae didn't pull off Cuban linx solely on his own, you can hate on Caps mc skills, and his other albums may be sh;t ( haven't actually bothered to listen to them) but admit that the pillage is above average...peace

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  27. C'mon dude this albums not that bad, its no OB4CL, Liquid Swords or Supreme Clientele, but its not intolerable, I feel like Donna should have featured Ghost & Rae more or other Wu members should have helped out, & maybe this review would have been different, but most of the beats on this thing are very enjoyable, it has some replay value...for real

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  28. C'mon man...

    The "Milk The Cow" would've been PERFECT for Deck.

    PERFECT, DAMMIT!!!!

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  29. AnonymousJune 03, 2014

    i really liked splish splash beat,and he is kinda decent there

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  30. I sorta agree with the comment section on how good this album actually is. Then again, I sorta agree with Max that Cappa was pretty much crap with quite the few exceptions, especially the True Master joints. And I cannot overstate how awesome the rest of the Wu were on here.

    Speaking of crap, I simply, physically cannot overlook how Oh Donna sings Oh Donna on Oh Donna. Confused? You should be.

    OHHHHH DOOONNA! OHHHHH DOOONNA!

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  31. Is it me or is there a very important parallel between this album and PMD's Business Is Business? A single producer saves the entire sound of an album. Think about it. True Master basically played 8-Off's role in the production here. Although in no way am I stating that Oh Donna is as good of an MC as PMD. That is physically impossible.

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  32. Mizzax, my boy. RZA's best production on here was most definitely NOT Pump Your Fist. That honor would go to MCF, although Run's beat was pretty good.

    Too bad Oh Donna sounds his absolute WORST on the RZA tracks. And when paired with absolutely crap RZA beats like Blood On Blood War, Young Hearts & Pump Your Fist, the result is the stuff Freddy Kreuger's nightmares are made of. Oh, and let's not forget the shit gem that is Check for a N****.

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  33. On the 1st line of the 1st song on The Pillage:
    'I came to the fork in the road and went straight'
    And the last bar of Jay-Z's second verse from Renegade:
    'I drove by the fork in the road and went straight'

    Even Cappadonna has had his rhymes bitten by camel lips

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  34. Stunned by this review.

    I'm 35 years old, grew up with hip-hop, remember taping new music off the radio when it dropped. I remember this time. I bought THE PILLAGE when it dropped back in '98 and really liked it then -- still like it now.

    And yeah, okay -- Cappadonna isn't Nas-level caliber when it comes to lyricism, but I find him to be pretty-consistently hilarious. This was, for my money -- THE BEST 90s Wu-album released from outisde the Original 9 Members.

    Hell -- it's better than some of the album work from the 9 Killa Bees. Deck's album was underwhelming and Masta Killa never had any business even being in the same room with these guys. I'm still perplexed as to why he was a member. I feel like he must have once seen RZA coked up and attempting murdering on an infant or something nefarious like that and basically had the dirt on him to secure a position within the Wu if he just kept his mouth shut about what he saw. Because his talent wasn't up to par.

    Whatever though. I remember when this album dropped in the late 90s and the consensus was that it was pretty good.

    But answer me this: did you like Cappadonna's mixtape song "'97 Mentality", which was released around the same time? Because if you didn't like that song, it pretty much says all that we need to know about your tastes in late-90s East-Coast Hip-Hop. (SPOILER ALERT: It was a pretty good song, dude.)

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    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 05, 2015

      Even though I'm not Max, allow me to answer your question: RZA's beat was AWESOME. Too bad any chemistry he had with Oh Donna pretty much evaporated with Wu-Tang Forever, so yeah, Oh Donna sounds like shit on that song. The Pillage should've been fully produced by True Master, as he was the ONLY producer to bring anything resembling good rhymes outta Oh Donna.
      And Uncontrolled Substance rips this album not one asshole, but 7000. Also, stop listening to the Wu right now if you think Masta Killa doesn't deserve his spot within the 9.

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    2. I like "97 mentality" just fine, thanks.

      Delete
  35. AnonymousJune 08, 2015

    Max probably thought that Jiggaman spitting that fork in the road line on Renegade was a brilliant metaphor as he sucks his (Jigga's) backside. Anyway half decent album by Cappa - the only one he has mind you.

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  36. AnonymousJune 08, 2015

    Masta Killa doesn't deserve his spot in the WU!!??? - Please stop smoking that shit my brudda!

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  37. This morning I couldn't get U-God's verse on Supa Ninjas out of my head... first time that's ever happened with a U-God verse. Bloody good.
    With regards to this album, I reckon give all the beats to Inspectah deck, destroy all copies of his first three albums but keep Trouble Man, Hyperdermix, Word on the Street, A Lil Story, and Sound of the Slums, chuck on that Nightshift unreleased song, bonus track can be Let me at 'Em, and then boom - one invincible Deck album plus the two Czarface albums.

    Nice review of Compton btw.
    Blake

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  38. This review is totally off and very personal. This album is great and Cappadonna's lyrics are intricate and awesome. This is the final crown jewel of the Wu Tang saga before the 5 year plan ends. RZA clearly is heavily involved the total project and for this we are grateful. Noting after this album the RZA follows his own plans and moves towards his true passion, films. The flick being Ghost Dog.

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  39. The album was a bit strange, different, unique...damn good i though. MCF, Supaninjas, fucking class

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  40. This album was the shit! Cappa was dope at this time... p.s. I like this Run better than the Ghostface version and I think this album is better than The Pretty Tony Album. Wu-Tang Forever Peace to the Gods

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  41. To whomever said that the True Master joints were the highlights of the album, SALUTE! Seriously, this album made me a very big fan of his. By contrast, I can't stress enough how much Cappadonna was absolute garbage on everyone else's beats. Shame that MCF & Run were wasted with such bullshit displays.

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  42. ''If you hate rap music, you make find this album tolerable''
    I love rap music and i find this album tolerable... Very tolerable actually..

    But hey, to each his own.

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