Wednesday, June 6, 2012

U-God's Resume #48, "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)"

--Official Stats--
Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
Song: "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)"
Producer: RZA
Album: The W
Release Date: October 17, 2000

Ya stylez mad shabby, my look mad crook / 
See you case the rest ya get shook and took

We've come to The W! An album that I don't think I've ever talked about with anyone at all! Why? Because it was a surprise to me when it dropped (I walked into some store and there it was and I was like "Whuuut?"), and then when I listened to it I was like "WHHUUUUT?" (as in WTF? Because I didn't like it.). I listened to it for a little while, then I stopped, then Iron Flag came out like a month later and I really didn't care for that album either, so I kind of lost some steam with the Wu I guess. It was a dark time. Dark and stormy, but don't cry for me, you baby - Napster was out and I was livin' large on FREE OLD SCHOOL STUFF WHEN IT WAS KIND OF LEGAL TO JUST DOWNLOAD STUFF FROM NAPSTER.COM/WOOT!

Today I confuse The W and Iron Flag, I don't like either of them (with a few exceptions) so it's not a big deal. I just try to remember which album has Flava Flav on it (Iron Flag) and then I know that I don't like that one more. I don't care who's related to Flava Flav, keep that guy on my Public Enemy albums please, and off of all Wu Tang songs. Word. In fact, Wu Tang Clan, please, PLEASE, keep the guest spots to a minimum in general, you didn't need them in the past, but now you're having Snoop guest? For realz? You're better than that.

Movin on...this song, right? One of the few tracks that I still spin from this album. It was the first single and apparently came out before the album (which is why we're reviewing it first), but I heard it for the first time on the album as a whole.

Why was this the first single? Was it because of that dumb and kind of insulting name? When I saw this song title I didn't think "Sweet, we're revisiting the starting point of the Wu, and one of my favortie songs from years ago." NOPE. I thought "THE HELL? These guys are trying to cash in on their history? What's with the parentheses? This is" (it was twelve years ago). Speaking of parentheses,  "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)" was the frist track to kick off the dumb Wu trend of parentheses in song titles. Before The W: no parentheses ever; then on The W: 4 tracks and on Iron Flag 4 Tracks. Silly.

What were we talking about again? Oh, why was this the first single? Well, it's dope, and it's got everyone on it except for ODB. That'll do it. What was up with Dirty anyway? He wasn't really on Trimuph either. Why couldn't they pull him in for Wu albums? Time to check the track, kid...let's see how our boy U-God performs...hell, let's do a whole video review.

"Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)"

Here we go. Look alive people...

Well, we start things off with the Wu Tang Clan "Today", as in "the present time". I get it. Everyone looks pretty disinterested in whatever the hell the RZA is talking about (including me at my desk). The clan is shifting around, like they're trying to stay awake while the RZA goes on about taking "it back to1988". Are they in an elevator? Oh, yep:

1988. Sigh. Litterally.
The elevator opens up in 1988 to a typical 1988 dance party. The crowd is doing the Ed Lover Dance to someone introducing the team (I always thought it was Inspectah Deck). Dancing to an intro? You don't dance to that! It doesn't have music. 1988? Plus, this is a very odd intro: "We'd like to welcome to you...all the way from the slums of Shaolin...special uninvited guests...came in through the back's THEM!". I could write a whole post about that introduction, but I won't. Let's just say that it is highly irritating. HIGHLY.

Finally, Inspectah Deck kicks things off, and we all know that he is basically the best plus he has high energy:

"Dance with the Mantis, note the slim chances / chant this anthem, swing like Pete Sampras".

Yo. Pete Sampras! THE KING OF SWING. OH SHIT. Deck murders the track in one line. DEAD. ONE LINE. But he doesn't give up:

"Taking it straight to big man on campus
brandish your weapon or get dropped to the canvas.
Sandalous, made the metro panic.
Cause static, with or without the automatic.
And while I'm at it, Yo, you got cash, pass it.
It's classic, cut this in half for Dirty Bastard"

Good luck toping that, everyone else. Raekwon is next and he doesn't top it. In fact he comes pretty boring. ZZZZzzzzzZZZZZ. You might have noticed that I'm not really reviewing the video, well that's because it's pretty basic. It's just the members of the Wu Clan wearing 80's clothes and rapping. Plus some 80's (or early 90's) dancing. During Rae's verse we see an odd duck guy wearing all red and he seems to be eyeing a young lady that Rae is talking too. Uh-oh for him. Maybe not. He gives up on Rae's lady quickly, probably figuring that he has no chance against Rae, and he turns to another lady, who quickly leaves. This guy: good in matching clothing, bad in love. Also, is he the club DJ from the beginning of the video?

So Rae's verse wasn't bad and it seemed pretty long, but who's next?

Ah, Method Man, thank goodness, and he is bringing the pain from the first line too.

"Yo! What Clan you know with lives this ill?
Bust shots at Big Ben like we got time to kill"

That's pretty good! Something about gasoline boots. Fine. Nice verse. Next, we have Masta Killa, and he comes in like a laid back champion. His verse is up there with Deck's. The guy is a pro what more do you need? Whatever you need, the RZA is not delivering it with his verse. I mean he comes spitting ill, no doubt, but he's appearing as Bobby Digital. That's fine and all, except that he delivers a short biographical verse puncuated with a digital "Bobby" several times. Dispite it not being my favorite verse, I'll quote the incredable last line:

"You won't catch me without the ratchet, in the joint smoked out, dead broke, or off point. Bobby!"

May we all be so blessed. Stll: nothing happening in the video.

Ghost is next and also brings his "try to do better than INS 'A' game". Does he do it? Close. In case you forgot, Ghostface can spit. His verse is vintage. I don't know how this song has such a tight collection of verses but everyone is on point for this shit.

Back to the video, the guy in red (who we haven't seen in a few verses) gets pushed. Hilarious?

Before anyone knows what's going on U-God is spitting. Nice trasition. Plus U gets a bad ass change up on the beat. The beat is good to begin with, but the change up sounds nice. It's like a burst of energy that U uses so well. His verse is perfect, and it's a good length for him, AND it stands out on the track. They finally figured out how to produce Baby U! Good verse.

Niggas wanna pop shit, I pop clips
Bitch, I'll put my dick on ya lips
Alabama split, hammer slay quick
That David Banner gamma ray shit
Shells in the mouth, jailhouse snitch
My powder voice, Snow White stiff
Verbal killas, gorilla grip
God body shit, puff Marley spliffs

Then it's a quick transition back to the normal beat and Cappadonna spitting. Kid sounds good too. "I be in the benzo, keep a low profile / Dead serious, take flicks and don't smile". So far everyone has spit relentless on this track. The verses are short but ill and nobody is slacking (except for Rae maybe). The only one left is the GZA, can he contend on this beat? I think you already know the answer to that:

A Real Contender
Run on the track like Jesse Owens
Broke the record flowin, without any knowin

YO. I soon as I heard "Jessie Ownes" I was done. Track over. It's quite a thing to come last on a track (that starts with Deck in battle mode) and finish it with a death blow. GZA absolutely murders this whole shit: "Swift flow made the cameramen clothes blow". Call CSI. This is what makes the Wu the Wu.

The beat rides out in the end. There are a lot of butts shaking (all the way through the video) (do people still use the word "butt"?). The doofus from earlier (in red) deals with his giant old school cell phone which is dead. RZA flips off the camera (and the audience) for a second time.

 IN CONCLUSION: So dope. I think Deck took this whole track with the first line. Plus the "big man on campus" line. Everyone did good though, especially U-God and the RZA who produced his verse. AND GZA. NICELY DONE!

Track Score: 10/10
U-God’s Score: 9/10
Impact on Rep (+,-,=): Improves

Next Week: "The W" drops official and U-God appears on "Careful (Click, Click)", maybe we'll find out why the song has the wackest name. Fingers crossed.

 About this series: “U-God’s Resume" is a series of posts which looks at each line of U-God’s entire career to determine if his status as ‘wack’ is justified (as labeled by internet morons). I think it is not. U-God is dope. We'll prove it. Leave it to the Tort Team.

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