December 12, 2008

Inspectah Deck - The Resident Patient (June 25, 2006)


Three years after releasing The Movement to the deafening sound of crickets and those two old guys from The Muppet Show trash-talking from the balcony, Jason Hunter (who performs at children's parties as Inspectah Deck, and provides his own pony as transportation, so be sure to look him up before his holiday season is booked) unleashed The Resident Patient onto the masses, or at least, the masses who could actually find it in stores, since it was distributed by Urban Icon Records (which is even lower than the Koch graveyard he was formerly working at). Named after a Sherlock Holmes short story (specifically, "The Adventure of the Resident Patient"), Deck attempted to bring back his time-tested street imagery with a wanton disregard for all things commercial or mainstream (although he makes a point of complaining that he doesn't get played on the radio as often as he would like). He also uses The Resident Patient as a springboard for his merry band of weed carriers, the Housegang, a loose collective that seems to be made up of rappers Carlton Fisk, Hugh Hef, La Banga, and Donnie Cash, although I'm sure none of them are part of the crew now.

The history of The Resident Patient is a curious one. Originally, it seems to have been intended as a mixtape release, which would be quickly followed by The Rebellion, an album that Deck has been promising all of us since the dawn of time. However, the official consensus is that The Resident Patient is Deck's actual third album, an opinion that is supported by the fact that there are no deejay drops or scratching to be found anywhere on The Resident Patient, and The Rebellion has yet to hit store shelves. Deck has since mentioned that The Rebellion will be the title of his final album, whenever the hell he plans on putting that out (in 2008, Inspectah Deck actually released The Resident Patient 2, so he hasn't quite retired as of yet), so Wu stans like myself should just enjoy The Resident Patient for what it is: yet another Wu-Tang solo album without any Rza contributions whatsoever.

Although Deck severely limits his own production work on here, so that was nice of him.

1. SOUND OF THE SLUMS (FEAT MASTA KILLA)
Kung-fu samples, no matter how brief, are always a good way to start off a Wu-Tang song, even if the track happens to dive into economic theories and the correlation between sub-prime mortgages and the size of a woman's breasts (at least that's what I've learned from Raekwon's "Ice Cream"). Deck sounds a bit different on here, almost as if he's lost a bit of confidence in himself since the release of The Movement, but both his verse and Masta Killa's contribution are entertaining.

2. C.R.E.E.P.S.
True to its title, that whispered voice on the lame-ass hook is creepy as fuck. That eerie tone will be replacing the whale in my nightmares.

3. WHAT THEY WANT
"I have to rise from the dead, like the prophecy been fulfilled or something." While that introductory line is unintentionally hilarious (thanks to Deck not seeming to realize that the mere act of rising from the dead is worthy or more than a dismissive "or something"), the song isn't very good as a whole. Radio won't play this shit, Deck? Can you blame them? I can't imagine this song appealing to any demographic.

4. GET YA WEIGHT UP
I just heard this Deck-produced song, and I couldn't pick it out of a police lineup with a lyric sheet, a flashlight, and a bottle of ginkgo biloba.

5. INTERLUDE I
...

6. IT'S NOT A GAME (FEAT HOUSEGANG & SUGABANG)
Mondee's instrumental sounds decent enough, but Deck (who appears on the third and final verse) is virtually indistinguishable from the other two guys (ostensibly from the Housegang, although I couldn't tell you for the life of me who is who, since neither of them are Carlton Fisk), which is a huge mistake. The Wu-Tang back catalog already features a song called "It's Not A Game", from Raekwon's former weed carriers, the American Cream Team, and that song is much more entertaining than this shit. Also, the Sugabang that is featured on the track shouldn't be confused with Wu reggae crooner Suga Bang Bang, unless dude bumped his head and decided to switch it on all of us.

7. INTERLUDE II
More kung-fu flick samples! That is all.

8. MY STYLE
This isn't bad: of the two Inspectah Deck-produced songs featured on The Resident Patient, this is clearly the better one. However, at this point, you will have noticed that all of these songs seem to run short, as if they are all fragments of a bad musical dream, so you will be both annoyed and not surprised when Deck prematurely pulls the plug on the song before you can start to fully enjoy it.

9. ALL I WANT IS MINE
Deck's bizarre attempt at a social commentary falls flat over Mondee's weak instrumental, and the forced outro sounds more like he's trying to convince himself than his so-called fans.

10. A LIL' STORY
Even though Deck shouts-out The Rza at the beginning of the song (which he does only after running down a list of newly devised rap pseudonyms with increasing levels of absurdity), Wu-Tang B-teamer Cilvaringz actually produced the track. Even after the initial disappointment (when the track first leaked to the Interweb, Wu stans the world over were excited at the prospect of a re-teaming of The Rza and Inspectah Deck), "A Lil' Story" managed to stand out as one of the, um, standouts of The Resident Patient, thanks to Cilva's Wu-Tang-worthy beat and a refreshed-sounding Deck, who comes off as if he just found the trash bag that he accidentally threw out his swagger in, stuffing it into his coat pocket before the old homeless guy with the tattered hoodie, the lisp, and the Garfield-colored cat that constantly follows, noticed it in the dumpster.

11. GET DOWN WIT ME
Looking past the gargled hook, this Cilvaringz-produced track sounds like an Uncontrolled Substance outtake, but one that I would actually enjoy listening to. Deck's mention of the passing of Ol' Dirty Bastard helps being you back to the present day, though.

12. I.O.U.
The lyrics (and to a much lesser extent, the beat, provided by the goofily-named Flowers Productions) aren't bad, but there's this high-pitched, sped-up vocal sample that is so grating on the ears that you'll want to pick up some cotton balls or one of your girl's tampons to stop the massive bleeding. Go ahead, I'll wait.

13. NO LOVE (FEAT CARLTON FISK & CHICO DEBANGO)
"Chico DeBango" is a hilarious artist name, but even that isn't memorable enough to recall his contribution. While it's always good to hear Carlton Fisk, of whom I've been a fan since his first appearance on Method Man's Tical, there isn't much on this song to recommend.

14. GRITS (FREESTYLE)
Not very impressive. At least it's short?

15. DO MY THANG
Over a Psycho Les beat (which is decent, but not as good as you would expect from one-half of The Beatnuts), Deck decides to rhyme in a different style, one that sounds surprisingly like a certain Prince Rakeem, except without the random quasi-religious babble. The song is okay, I suppose, but this is nowhere near what we would even want to hear from Jason Hunter.

16. HANDLE THAT (FEAT U-GOD & HUGH HEF)
Longtime readers won't be shocked to hear that U-God's verse hurts more than it helps. The only way this song could have possibly been justified is if the actual Hugh Hefner was invited to contribute vocals. Hell, I'm sure that his hip hop loving ex could have taken a stab at it and sounded better than Golden Arms. But then again, I hate U-God. Deck simply sounds thankful that the album is just about over. Alas, there are still two more tracks to go.

The following songs are listed as bonus tracks, for whatever reason.

17. ANIMAL RIGHTS (FEAT HOUSEGANG)
Basically, every single member of the Wu-Tang Clan has their own personal crew of weed carriers who like to pretend they could positively contribute to a rap group when the time comes. (I'm not sure if Masta Killa has such a posse, but as I don't follow his day-to-day activities, I could be wrong.) Curiously, for this track the Housegang is referred to as "House Gang" on the back cover of The Resident Patient, but that difference isn't as important as you may believe. What this track boils down to is one single fact: there is a valid reason why there are so many inferior Wu-related projects out in the world today, folks.

18. H.G. IS MY LIFE
From the Nicolas Cage film of the same name.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Save for a handful of tracks, The Resident Patient is even more dull than The Movement, marking a new low for Inspectah Deck. Regardless of whether this is a mixtape or an actual album, it's obvious that Deck needs to realign with some of his more talented brethren (or at least hook up with their engineers and producers), as he needs assistance with reigning in his ideas and following through with execution. Most of the beats Deck selected are boring as shit, and lyrically, he sounds as if he was only inspired by the idea of seeing his name printed on an album cover at the local Best Buy, final product be damned. Sorry, Charlie, but your album sucks balls.

BUY OR BURN? Burn, if necessary. Two good songs (and one that is moderate at best) are not enough to warrant dropping the manufacturer's suggested retail price on this garbage. If you find yourself flush with disposable income, you should probably buy some food for your family. Or some heroin. Your family might appreciate the heroin. But do not buy this album.

BEST TRACKS: "A Lil' Story"; "Sound Of The Slums"

-Max

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5 comments:

  1. Inspectah Deck's a shadow of the MC he once was. His flow's still alright, but his voice changed and his lyrics got really dumbed down. It's all just generic street shit now. His solo albums sound like they could have come from any other New York rapper.

    I remember when Deck was every Wu fan's favorite member. It's a shame he never got his RZA produced solo during the golden years. Now he's destined to drop "eh" albums every two years and shine in 16-bar spurts on Wu-Tang albums every 5 to 10 years.

    Pour out some liquor.

    ReplyDelete
  2. co-sign...change is a mufuh

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  3. I considered doing a review of Hard Knock Life (a good album to contrast the current economic climate), but then I found this review

    http://music.ign.com/articles/440/440097p1.html


    Combined with yours, there's not much too talk about unless I decided to get creative with the whole idea of an album review

    ReplyDelete
  4. ... sigh ... RIP once talented rapper .

    ReplyDelete
  5. "I have to rise from the dead, like the prophecy been fulfilled or something."


    haaha.

    ReplyDelete