Next year will be the 20-year anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Clan’s iconic debut album. Though there are nine members of the Clan, there’s only man that can lay claim as the nucleus of the crew, and that would be producer/rapper RZA, who was the mastermind behind that album and other classic Wu projects like Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… and the GZA’s Liquid Swords.
Now, in 2012, RZA is trying to put the same kind of stamp he put on music into movies. On November 2nd, RZA will release the martial arts film The Man With the Iron Fists, a movie that he wrote, directed and plays a leading role.
Accompanying the movie is the stellar soundtrack, which was released today. Similar to the movie, The RZA played a dominant roll in putting the soundtrack together. He executive produced the project, which has a heavy, dark, gritty, mid '90s Wu-Tang sound to it, even though he technically only has three production credits on the project.
The pool of nominees isn’t that great, but The Man with the Iron Fists has to take home the prize for soundtrack of the year.
What the star-studded compilation does well is unite eras of music; for the most part, each cut finds a way to merge the old with the new.
So CTE-affiliate Freddie Gibbs trades bars with O.G. slick talker Method Man on "Built For This,” new school standouts like Pusha T, Danny Brown and Joel Ortiz spit drug-fueled bars with the original coke kingpin Raekwon, the spaced out Wiz Khalifa shares a beat with the even zanier Ghostface Killah and The Revelations and Tre Williams remake William Bell's “I Forgot To Be Your Lover.”
The RZA himself gets into all of the mixing and matching fun as well, doing eccentric tracks with popular rock group The Black Keys and underground hip-hop fav Flatbush Zombies.
The highlight of the album comes in the form of Kanye West’s “White Dress.” It features a 2012 love-obsessed Kanye fluidly rapping over a soulful beat that sounds like 2002 Kanye. This is just another example of RZA merging the old with the new again. With this new project, it’s clear that the sound RZA and his eight friends crafted two decades ago still has a place in hip-hop today.
If you want to buy The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack, pick it up here. And don't forget, The Man with the Iron Fists, starring Russell Crow and Lucy Liu, hits the big screen on November 2nd.
1. The Black Keys / RZA - "The Baddest Man Alive" [produced by The Black Keys and The RZA]
2. Ghostface Killah / M.O.P. / Pharoahe Monch - "Black Out" [produced by Fizzy Womack]
3. Kanye West - "White Dress" [produced by Kanye West and The RZA]
4. The Revelations feat. Tre Williams - "I Forgot To Be Your Lover" [produced by Bob Perry]
5. Idol Warship [Talib Kweli / RES] - "Get Your Way" [produced by Frank Dukes and BadBadNotGood]
6. The Wu-Tang Clan / Kool G Rap - "Rivers of Blood" [produced by Frank Dukes and BadBadNotGood]
7. Method Man / Freddie Gibbs / Street Life - "Built For This" [produced by Frank Dukes]
8. Killa Sin - "The Archer" [produced by Frank Dukes]
9. RZA / Flatbush Zombies - "Just Blowin' In The Wind" [produced by The RZA]
10. Pusha T / Raekwon / Joell Ortiz - "Tick, Tock" [produced by Frank Dukes and S-1]
11. Corrine Bailey Rae - "Chains" [produced by Steven James Brown and Corrine Bailey Rae]
12. Francis Yip - "Green Is The Mountain"
13. The Wu-Tang Clan - "Six Directions of Boxing" [produced by Frank Dukes]
14. Mable John - "Your Good Thing (Is About To Come To An End)" [produced by Isaac Hayes and David Porter]
15. Wiz Khalifa / Ghostface Killah / Boy Jones - "I Go Hard" [produced by The RZA]