December 18, 2009

Cappadonna - The Struggle (October 7, 2003)

I have to say, I was pretty excited about the free sticker promised on the album cover of Cappadonna's third full-length effort, The Struggle. The bar code printed on the front is also pretty classy. You would never see shit like that on an album released by a major label. Then again, at this point in his career Darryl Hill was no longer with a major label: hell, his status within the realm of Wu-Tang Clan affiliates was debatable.

After the dismal failure of the shitstorm that was The Yin & The Yang, Cappadonna and Wu-Tang leader The Rza had a falling out: Cappa felt that he was shorted some money, and Prince Rakeem thought that Darryl took left turns too dangerously in his gypsy cab. After bouncing from underneath the Wu umbrella, Cappadonna found himself signed to Code Red Entertainment, the vanity label for Wu-Tang affiliate-slash-enemy of Cilvaringz Remedy, who, rumor has it, only became a part of the Wu because his dad was The Rza's lawyer. No, really, that's the rumor. I didn't make that up.

Cappadonna's third album, The Struggle, was the result of all of this turmoil. Unsurprisingly, there is no work from The Rza behind the boards: it seems that the only Wu-Element that showed any sort of compassion was 4th Disciple, who handed over one of his castoffs in a quiet manner. Inspectah Deck and Raekwon, who also had their own issues with their boss at that time, also made brief appearances in the studio, but the majority of the project features cameos from lower-level weed carriers, some of whom with names that you may actually recognize. Otherwise, The Struggle is essentially as far from a Wu-Tang solo record that anybody can get.

I think it's safe to say that I have extremely low expectations for this shit.

Nope, Cappadonna isn't full of himself at all.

I highly doubt that the “bitches in the club” and “the thugs over there” (over where? Be more specific, dammit!) gave a flying fuck about the whereabouts of the best-dressed gypsy cab driver in New York. (Well, maybe the “bitches” cared, because that would be one of the safest ways for them to get home after a drunken night out.) Calogero (who?) provides a beat which attempts a celebratory Cappa-as-professional-wrestler-entering-the-arena vibe, but it doesn't gel, and our host sounds as if this was his very first time in the booth. You know, if you're going to continue to capitalize off of the Wu-Tang brand, you may as well actually use some of their trademark sounds and styles. That's advice for all of the Wu-Tang b-teamers out there.

This one works a bit better. Calogero's instrumental actually sounds slightly Wu-esque, and Cappadonna sounds so bad that he rounds the bend back into “decent” territory. (My theory is that Cappa used up all of his good ideas in a single verse on Ghostface Killah's “Winter Warz” and, to a much lesser extent, on his own debut The Pillage: how else can one explain The Yin & The Yang?) I'm not saying this shit is actually good, mind you: it's merely passable. Sometimes you take whatever you can get.

On which Cappadonna transforms the spelling of his rap nickname into a description of pissing into somebody's mouth. I don't even need to tell you about Lounge Mode's guest verse for you to understand that this song is awful, but I will anyway: I wasn't impressed, and I now understand why Rza (allegedly) shorted our host in his paychecks; with this rhyme style, Cappadonna clearly wasn't writing his own lyrics back in the day. (Yeah, I'm starting that rumor.)


Cappa's ode to his mother should be a sweet break amidst the wave of misogynistic and violent tales that The Struggle consists of, but I get the feeling that the man didn't have much to say. He repeats the first few bars as a makeshift chorus without any warning, falsely stretching out the track, which still ranks among the shortest on the album. His mother must be so angry that her son felt she only warranted a half-assed tribute.

An odd commercial attempt (which reminds me of U-God's “Bizarre”) that doesn't entirely fail, thanks to the Soulfingaz beat, which is better than Cappadonna deserves (save for the randomly placed air horn). For his part, Donna rhymes about absolutely nothing, and he actually left me wishing that U-God would make a surprise cameo. Yeah, that's how bad Cappa's lyrics were. Also, the title sucks.

I used to rank Inspectah Deck as one of the best spitters in the Clan. He was right up there with Gza/Genius and Ghostface Killah (I love Raekwon and Method Man, too, but their actual rhymes couldn't compare to this holy trinity in my book back then). I even liked Uncontrolled Substance when it dropped, probably a lot more than I should have. So to hear him reduced to hook duties with an overly wordy conundrum that makes no sense, while Cappadonna handles all the verses by his damn self, is the sound of a tree falling in the woods when nobody is around to hear it.

Given the actual hook, I can only assume that this song wasn't called “Money, Cash, Flows, & Bitches” in the hopes that some unsuspecting parent would, inexplicably, purchase a Cappadonna album for their kid. The shots fired at Roc-A-Fella Records (which I guess is unsurprising, given the title's relative closeness to Jay-Z's “Money, Cash, Hoes”) were an interesting touch, but given the fact that absolutely nobody responded, it's safe to say that Shawn Carter doesn't listen to Cappa and his cronies. Wouldn't it be kind of funny if Hova responded to Cappadonna after reading on a blog that he dissed him back in 2003? I know, right?

Cappadonna asking the audience if they remember him from Raekwon's classic song about sucking on the breasts of promiscuous women from many races (also known as “Ice Cream”) was a bad move: you may as well ask them to directly compare The Struggle's Cappa to the days when he actually turned in quality work. Obviously, this song is pretty bad, or else I would have written something else. Cappadonna, I don't even know you anymore.


I can think of many reasons of why you two should skip this track, if anybody ever chose to listen to The Struggle after reading this review, but, unfortunately for me, this song isn't actually all that bad. It's certainly not good, but Cappa's second verse was actually kind of clever, and special guest star Lounge Mode wasn't bad, either.

Cappadonna takes our collective memory of the Wu-Tang Clan classic “C.R.E.A.M.” and takes a huge sloppy shit all over it. Although Raekwon, the sleeping giant (and one of the stars of “C.R.E.A.M.”) spits a verse, you shouldn't be fooled into thinking that this kind of blasphemy is okay. Some things are best left alone, Cappa: rappers should be more creative than this, but we all know how well that's been going as of late.

I believe Cappadee (as he refers to himself on here) was trying to record a serious song over this Quasi beat, something informing listeners of the irony of living life when everything and everybody is working against you, but he fails miserably. And then he yells at you for a good ten seconds at the end. Because that's entertaining.

Mizza's instrumental wasn't that bad, and Lounge's verse was actually really good on this posse cut. But someone forgot to inform Oh Donna that he shouldn't surround himself with artists that can all outdo him behind the mic, especially when he's the star of the show.

This rant is ridiculous and unfocused. First, Cappa seems to be talking shit about lesbiand in general, but then, in the second verse, he brags about fucking them anyway. I'm not sure what he was aiming for here, but if there was a single lesbian who gave a damn about what this jackass had to say, GLAAD would have a fucking field day. Since The Struggle sold less than zero copies, I suppose same-sex pairings are still safe, but listeners should still be made aware of Cappa's ancient views.

It's sad to think that all of these guys believed themselves to be comparable to the Wu-Tang Clan when they spit their verses on this posse cut. Lightning rarely strikes twice in the same spot, unless it's deliberately aiming for Cappa's hat.


I was really hoping for a reimagining of Heather B. and M.O.P.'s “My Kinda N---a”, and, surprisingly, that's kind of what this is. It isn't nearly as good, though. Cappadee runs out of lyrics toward the middle, and starts to repeat himself over this interesting D.A. beat, until he tells us that his kinda bitch is the type of girl who holds his dick for hil when he pisses. Is this something that guys actually want? Because I consider that to be my time. And besides, what kind of girl is going to want to be with a guy who is too lazy to hold his own dick when he pisses? If he can't even be bothered to do that properly, how do you think he's going to treat you?

No, they most certainly do not, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that they gave it their all. Better luck next time, fellas.

For what is ostensibly the centerpiece of The Struggle (albeit one that is inexplicably placed at the end of the album), Cappadonna fails to again with his halted bars that refuse to acknowledge the presence of a rhythm. However, his guest, King Just, completely rips shit, so this isn't a total waste of your time. Still, I expected better. I mean, he essentially named the album after this very song!

“Stuggle With This” leads into the following bonus tracks after a brief moment of silence.

After a wack freestyle, Cappadee brings us a song about ending a relationship, one which was, apparently, not good enough to appear within the tracklisting. Strangely, I actually bought the emotion in his voice on here, versus anywhere else on The Struggle. Cappa isn't Ghostface when it comes to emoting on wax (why Ghostface Killah isn't considered an emo rapper these days is a mystery to me, unless it's a race thing, in which case a whole other can of worms has been opened), and the minimalist beat on here is boring as shit, but he gives it his best shot.

The final song on The Struggle features Cappadonna actually singing on the hook. While this has happened before (on Remedy's “Girlfriend”, most notably), that's all you really need to know about this track. And, just like that, he was gone.

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you thought that The Yin & The Yang was a piss-poor effort from Cappadonna, then you'll be much more appalled with The Struggle, which makes its predecessor sound like fucking Liquid Swords. Cappadonna doesn't even try on this album, relying on (mostly) predictably bad beats and his guests to carry his performance for him, and that shit just doesn't fly. This is a bloated, self-important, and terrible piece of work, and yes, I realize that very description can be used for most any crappy rap album, but it absolutely fits here. If I were The Rza, I would demand that Cappa stick with driving cabs and stop using the Wu-Tang's name in vain. But that's just me. I can't believe this jackass is actually considered to be the tenth member of the Wu: that shit just blows my mind.

BUY OR BURN? If you've read this far, you don't need to ever listen to this album. Your life is somehow more complete without it. But since most of the HHID readers don't really care about the WU-Tang Clan b-teamers anyway, you probably haven't read this far, so I'll end on a completely unrelated tangent: Has anybody else read how convicted domestic abuser Chris Brown is pissed that some major retailers won't carry his album? And has anybody else noticed that the song he wrote about Rihanna is all about how he can't believe that she broke his heart? Last time I checked, you tried to break her face. You tried to transform her, but it didn't take. Chris Brown can go fuck himself. That is all.

BEST TRACKS: “Season Of Da 'Vick”


Cappadonna – The Pillage
Cappadonna – The Yin & The Yang


  1. I've been following your blog for awhile but have never commented before. Yea, that sounds like a slightly different version of the terrible "Long time listener, first time caller" cliche ... oh well.

    Anyway, love the review as usual, and love your writing style. Thanks for keeping it alive.


  2. Lol. Great review Max


  3. Long time listener, first time caller.

    I found this a bit surprising that "Brian" or your two reader haven't left one of these comments, so far.

    "Why bother reviewing this shit, we all know it Sucks!" or slightly different versions of this!

    As many requests you get, you still manages to pick these kinda garbage to review. Good job Max!

  4. As per usual, it's not always about writing about the best albums...sometimes, it's about amusing myself and, hopefully, the two readers.

    If you don't like it, you can always, I don't know, NOT comment?

    Thanks for reading! And for those of you who get the joke, thanks for your support.

  5. damn has cappa ever came up with good records??

  6. I read that Chris Brown's new album is pretty much total shit, which to me is almost exactly what I expected. Not saying I was a fan of his other albums, but most pop doesn't do it for me. I'm glad you stuck that bit on the end of the review-Chris Brown was a total imbecile, and is totally getting what he deserves. Good to see Rihanna's music is still ever popular.


  7. cappadonna is a fag. any man calling himself "donna" HAS to be gay.

    that is all.

    end communication.

  8. I am probably not alone in the fact that I like reading negative album reviews from you rather than positive ones. I mean, don't get me wrong, when you review good shit, I go "fuck yeah!" but I'd rather laugh my ass off, which usually happens when I read the negative reviews.

    Anyway, I kinda like Cappadonna (!), he's much better than U-God at least. He's had some memorable appearances, and even some downright good lines. I wouldn't want to listen to a solo album of his though.

    Always gotta chuckle at the "RZA owes someone in Wu-Tang money" stuff. It seems like it's always the shittiest members/affiliates bitching. Like, U-God bitching, when he's only on like 2 songs on the debut album (he had, what, 8 bars on the whole disc? And a bar with U-God usually consists of two or three random words. It's always some stupid "GUERILLA DOPE -- COKE OR ACID, PLASTIC CREDIT CARD CUT UP -- JURASSIC, DOPIUM MASTIFF LICKED DICK -- ANGELA BASSET, FANTASTIC MASTER, UPPER-CLASS KID -- FUCKED UP CLASSIC" or some garbage). I often wonder if anyone in Wu realizes that RZA is the most important member of the group, BY FAR, and you know, probably maybe sorta deserves a LITTLE bit more money since he created the entire look/feel/sound/ETC of the group? As great as many of the MC's are, I don't think any of them (besides maybe Ghost, GZA, and MAYBE Meth) would be known if not for RZA's production and behind-the-scenes shit. Witness the fact that every RZA-produced album is classic, most albums not produced by RZA suck (with the big exception being Supreme Clientele... which actually was produced by RZA, he just didn't create most of the beats). Anyway...