Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
Album: Wu-Tang Forever
Release Date: June 3, 1997
Triumph! The overstuffed first single from "Forever" where all ten members of the clan get a full verse except for ODB who just plays hypeman. Now, I could be wrong, but I think this might be the first track that features all ten members together. Am I wrong? Who cares? I guess this is a milestone track. A true triumph. But enough with the intro, let's get to the song friends:
Wu Tang Clan - Triumph by skunker75
BRRRRRRRTTTT!!!! That was the sound of the breaks on the car. I gotta talk about this video. I don't think that I've seen it in ten years and WTFFFFFF? It looks WAY EXPENSIVE and the computer graphics aren't very good at all. They're embarrassing. The news intro is WEIRD.
So the video starts and right away: LAME! Did she say "Old Dirty Man"? That's not his name at all. ODB looks terrible in that animation and the "reporter" sounds so awkward and nothing like a journalist. Who authorized this? "Edward, let's spend millions of dollars to put that Dirty Man on a Sky Scraper and have him stagger around. That's what he does anyway right? The kids'll eat it up. We'll get ALL the money!" - Rich Record Industry Executive. It looks like ODB is using his cell phone to call the killer bee swarm, weird right? And then there is a photo run-through of all the Clan members and a lot of fire! Really? I remember not liking this video when it came out, and I still don't like it today. So I guess I'll go through each verse and discuss the video as well.
Inspectah Deck - The lead off verse is incredibly ill, I mean this is one of the best verses ever dropped in hip hop, seriously. In the video, Deck is clinging to the side of a building and that's just dope (except when the bees fly out of his mouth, that's just DUMB). The clan is also shown dancing alone in a hive which is weird and not a good video background. Why would they do that? "Yo, Meth! Let's go the the hive and get on with the dance moves." Nope.
It should also be noted that ODB "jumps" off the generic skyscraper during this verse, he falls past Deck and a close up reveals that he is very deliberately pressing buttons on his cell phone. What is he up to? OH, Deck runs down the side of the building using super-speed, and terrible animation, and ends up catching ODB, then they turn into bees. Normal New York shit. Also, was ODB calling Deck to come and catch him? If so Deck didn't answer...and they turned into bees anyway. Why not turn into bees BEFORE you hit the ground and pull INS away from his wall clinging rap session? That's "Old Dirty Man" for you. Anyway, the bees fly around and turn into a motorcycle gang and one of the riders is...
Method Man - The second verse is eclipsed by the power of Deck's kick off. Sure Meth holds his own, but he isn't pulling from the Tical well, he's pulling from the cleaned-up mass-appeal well and it's just not as good. In the "Tical" days it seemed like Meth was closer in style to ODB and Redman, but by this point he had become just a normal rapper. It's a shame. So in the video, Meth is spitting while "riding" a motorcycle. There is a lot of fire and it looks fake, but the shit is cool. Two cool video segments mixed up with dumb video action. So, mixed results I guess.
Okay, so then a bee swarm flies into the sewer and then it looks like Meth sees them flying around down there, so he decides to jump off his motorcycle and join them, of course (awkwardly). Then he
Cappadonna - Who spits his verse in a spinning chair in the sewer. Ah, they caught him at home, I'm sure it smells like your average NY Gypsy Cab down there. OF COURSE The sewer looks like the inside of the Death Star and Cappa's verse is okay. Actually it's good, probably better than Meth's. I don't know, I like the "arts and crafts paragraphs" line.
Back to the video, Cappa makes balls of light with his hands which is just pointless, then he has like twenty wardrobe changes. I think that he was trying to set himself apart as the "most fashionable" member of the clan with this video appearance and his Wu-Wear verse. Whatever, it's dumb, you failed Cappadonna. Yet it was good enough for Nas to steal for his terrible Nastradamus video, good grief. Plus, in the CGI hive (where the whole Clan is dancing) I noticed that Cappa is rapping with his face entirely covered. Why? Who knows? Maybe it stinks in there? Is that Old Dirty Man in there? LOL?
So there is no transition to our boy...
U-God - I'm going to try to write U-God's verse from memory...if I make any mistakes I'll leave 'em in there and then you can lulz at me later...
Olympic torch flamin' it burns so sweet
the thrill of victory, the agony defeat
we crush slow, flamin' deluxe show for
judgement day commeth, conquer, it's war
allow us to escape hell globe, spinning bomb
'pocket full of shells' out the sky: Golden Arms
tune spit the shitty Mortal Combat sounds
The fake false step, mate, they blood stain the ground
A jungle junky, vigilante tantrum
Death kiss, catwalk, squeeze another anthem
hold it for ransom tranquilize with anesthesia
my orchestra graceful, music ballerinas
my music Sicily, rich California smell
the ax kill adventure, paint a picture well
I sing a song from Sing-Sing
Sippin on Jinsing,
Righteous wax chaperones
rotating ring kings
FROM MEMORY SON! Assuming I got the lyrics right, that is a good verse. Not great but okay. Now his portion of the video is the worst by far. He is basically hanging from a tree in a lot of fire. That's it. Then he is upside down in the tree like a bat. And there are duplicates of him in other trees and it looks just appalling. It's a bad idea. Hanging from a tree with one arm is not cool. Meth and Deck got good video ideas and U-God got this? WTF? It's like they were setting him up to fail, like always. Let me reiterate: this part of the video is absolutely embarrassing and terrible and worse than that.
So this time everyone in the "hive" transforms into the swarm and breaks a "W" shaped hole in the side of a jail. The bees come together to form...
RZA - RZA just kills his verse. His flow sounds a bit off, but rugged, he stands out from the rest of the Clan and his lines are dope. "MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS, YOU CYPHER PUNKS COULDN'T HOLD US...." Nice. In the video he is walking through a prison with big wings on his back. It's nice that this is an actual set, but the whole thing looks cheap. I guess if you spend $5m on a CGI hive you've got to cut costs somewhere. Now, you can have too much of a good thing, and the quick cuts are just way too much of a dumb thing. Okay, so the hole that the bees knocked in the side of the prison is allowing the inmates to escape. Freedom! This, and all the rapping from the RZA, draws the attention of the guards, one of which confronts the RZA. Of course RZA just turns into a swarm of bees and flys into his mouth where we discover...
GZA - And someone else (Jamel Arief perhaps?) sitting next to the Earth in outer space and thoughtfully considering, uh, a big explosion. I wish they would have zoomed out so that we could see what these guys are standing on (or sitting on), or are they just floating? Big questions deserve big answers. So the GZA's verse is very good and expert and accessible. It's like a story rap told from a very high level, it's just nice. It's really a solid verse. But it's pretty short, so we only get to see GZA space teaching for a few seconds before he and his buddy (who is that guy?) transform into bees! They fly from space into the city where they become...
Masta Killa - So I really like Masta Killa's verse here and I think that this is where I started noticing how good of an MC he is. The video doesn't do him justice though. He's on a CGI "W" platform / freight elevator going up from the street through the buildings. When he comes to a stop a crowd gathers to hear his words. That's kind of nice, but I think the best part is how the other Clansmen in the "hive" stop dancing around while MK spits. THAT'S a nice touch, they just stand in respect. So anyway, the video takes Jamal's verse seriously and has him literally give sight to the blind with a lightening ball. Dumb. DUMB. DUMB!!! If this were Master Killa in his own solo video, and the whole video was only him on the platform, EVERONE would say that this video was the worst and would laugh at it. But when your surrounded by dudes hanging in trees and people "jumping" off buildings while making a phone call, this looks pretty good.
So if you guessed that he turns to a swarm of bees then you're pretty smart because he does do that. And the bees become Rae and Ghost who are in a jail cell performing in front of a crowd.
Ghostface Killa & Chef Raekwon - So Ghost and Rae really end this track on a high note. Both of them deliver fast-paced high-energy verses that are really good. But I think that everyone involved with the video just ran out of ideas (that's obvious from the tree thing). Anyway, Ghost is rapping both inside and outside his cell, which is okay, at least he isn't hanging from a tree like a bat. By the time Rae is spitting the whole Clan is in the cell, at least for a few seconds. Ghost kisses Rae then everyone turns into bees and makes the "W" symbol over the moon, duh. End of video.
Well, that video is not very good. You know the funny thing though? All they needed to do was walk down an alley and spit and occasionally cut it up with kung-fu footage. That's it. They didn't need all this fancy nonsense. In fact, since this video is so long it didn't really get all that much airplay. I remember it getting cut off several times on TV. like they'd get to Masta Killa and then fade to black...boom, Sea World commercial. Anyway, how about U-God? He did okay, right? Once again I think he ended up in the middle of the pack. Well, maybe at the bottom of the pack, but still not bad...or not the worst at least.
Track Score: 9/10
U-God’s Score: 8/10
U-God's Video Score: 0/10
U-God's Video Score: 0/10
Impact on Rep (+,-,=): No Change
Next Week: As we continue on side two or side B of this double CD we look at U-God in Impossible
|Olympic Torch Flamin'|
"This just in, the police are reporting that there's a man on top of a skyscraper ready to jump. I'm told that the man is possibly Old Dirty, a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. The police suspect that there could be some connection between this Old Dirty...Man and the killer bees."