HOLY CROW! We just spent like three months reviewing U-God's first solo album "Golden Arms Redemption". That's a LOT OF TIME. Too much time. Way too much time. In the end, this exercise only hurt our opinion of U-God. Let's be honest, Golden Arms Redemption SUCKS. But I don't know if it's fair for me to just say that - we're just one small, stupid, insignificant blog that wastes a lot of time being really dumb. Maybe we should check ourselves.
"Good idea" - Ice Cube.
Let's start by taking a look at the score we gave each song of this album, track by track, to see what our average score is:
1. "Enter U-God" 0/10
2. "Turbulence" 0/10
3. "Glide" 0/10
4. "Dat's Gangsta" 0/10
5. "Soul Dazzle" 4/10
6. "Bizarre" 3/10
7. "Rumble" 6/10
8. "Pleasure or Pain" 7/10
9. "Stay in Your Lane" 3/10
10. "Shell Shock" 3/10
11. "Lay Down"1/10
12. "Hungry" 0/10
13. "Turbo Charge" 0/10
14. "Knockin' At Your Door" 0/10
15. "Night the City Cried" 5/10
Golden Arms Redemption Score 2/10
(an average of all track scores)
That's not a surprise. In fact I think that's exactly accurate. The production on this shit ranged from bad to worse for the entire album, even tracks that the RZA produced stunk it up. No beat was particularly banging, and while the rawness was there, it wasn't good raw...it was boring raw or at best mediocre raw. Plus, I think U's style overwhelms anything he spends a lot of time spitting on, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but when there are no change ups, and U is just stringing together random thoughts, it gets a little hard to listen to.
I remember seeing a RZA quote that said something like after Wu Tang Forever, solo projects would be more like solo projects, and not feature everyone from the Clan. He thought that each solo album gave away the whole team, so he reduced the Wu guest lists on all followoing albums, including this one. That was probably the dumbest move in Wu history. Why? Before Forever, each solo album was like a Wu Tang project. That was a good thing. With the exception of Tical no album got weighed down by any one MC, that's part of what made them so good. Then we have this change of philosophy, and the number of classic solo albums dropped from "common" to "rare". Golden Arms and Deck's solos were the first casualities of the "go it alone" attitude. Pretty much everyone else in the Clan after this suffered thanks to this boneheaded idea (except for Ghostface and RZA).
Let's also not forget the large scale incorporation of the Wu Tang production team, which is good at what they do, no doubt, but in the end they're just making beats to sound like the RZA. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. A producer should have their own distinct sound. I can identify a RZA beat almost instantly. I can also pick out Wu-Tang production staff beats instantly, but I usually have no idea who does what. It's Jell-o of from the same packet. Let me be clear, the Wu production team has made some of the best beats in hip hop, but I would have much preferred that RZA hire a team with distinct sounds and innovative ideas rather than clones*. That didn't happen.
*don't kill me
Anyway, this album was really hurt by U doing all of the heavy lifting by himself, and the producers doing very little lifting. This was the first bad Wu Tang album, along with Uncontrolled Substance, and Immobilarity which all came out at the same time. Oh, wait, Tical 2000: Judgement Day was the first bad Wu Tang album, this one was second.
So that's that.
But how did other people review this album? What does our competition say?
|The People Have Spoken with their $$$|
Well, first of all, this album sold gold, so half a million people bought this album (including me). That's a lot. That says something about the respect for the name. The album hit #58 on the billboard top 200, and #15 on the hip hop and R&B charts, if you care about that, and you do.
I would say that the public liked it!
THE RECORD COMPANY
According to the RZA's book, U-God got a million dollars to sign with Razor Sharp records. That's a ton of money, they must have been expecting big things, and thought pretty highly of our boy. (For the record, the entire clan only got $200k when they were first signed to Loud). So the record company liked this (or at least the marketability of it). P.S. I didn't read RZA's book because that is so booooring, I just saw that fact on the internet which is so interesting.
Fat Cat record company people liked it!
allmusic, which is some kind of online music review warehouse, gave it a 3/5 (or a 6/10), way higher than us and way out of line. What album were they listening to? Where is this warehouse?
Boy I'm having trouble finding other reviews...
Uh, Let's look at the public reviews on Amazon:
49 People gave the album an average of 3.5 / 5 (or a 7/10). WTTFFFF? Let's get into the details from the reviewers comments:
"This CD has to be one of the best to come out of the clan lately"
"This CD is tight. The beats are tight, and U-God's rhymes are sharp. This sounds like a classic wu album...You better recognized."
"...this album is Wu classic. Raw hip-hop, classic. So far it's one of the best Wu-Tang solo, don't sleep on this LP please, it's magnetic."
Magnetic! WHAT? Well, I guess the fans disagree with us too. Except this guy:
"Yall going to Hell for lying....The Whole CD is Whack"
Thank you, guy.
HIP HOP ISN'T DEAD BLOG
Okay! Let's move on to everyone's favorite hip hop blog: Hip Hop Isn't Dead for Max's review:
"BUY OR BURN? Neither. Don't even bother; nothing on here is that good anyway. "
Ah, that one makes sense. At least another blogger agrees with us.
Okay,we'll finish strong with NME, whatever the hell that is.
I guess NME is some UK shit. What do they know? Nada. Proof: they gave it a 7/10 too! WHY?
"...his debut solo album, coming out as raw as anything from The RZA's stable since 'Protect Ya Neck'."
Good GRIEF. Go back to worshiping your royal family and being generally snooty...and stop reviewing hip hop ya plonkerz.
IN CONCLUSION: I QUIT! We apparently don't know what we're doing. We give this album a 2 out of 10, everyone else (mostly) calls it their generation's "Protect Ya Neck". We're out of touch. We're too old for this. We don't know what we're doing.
OVERALL TORT TEAM SCORING ABILITY SCORE 0/10