The Wu-Tang Clan has decided to drop an early xmas present for all their fans. It comes in a package entitled: “Iron Flag“. Things are the same as they ever were, what else can a brother say. This album is hot! Anytime these guys hook up good things happen. If you don’t know and you’ve been sleeping, the Wu comprises of: Genius aka GZA (b. Gary Grice, New York, USA), RZA aka Prince Rakeem (b. Robert Diggs, New York, USA), Ol’ Dirty Bastard (b. Russell Jones, 15 November 1968, Brooklyn, New York, USA), Raekwon (b. Corey Woods, New York, USA), Method Man (b. Clifford Smith, 1 April 1971, Staten Island, New York, USA), Ghostface Killah (b. Dennis Coles, 9 May 1970, USA), Inspectah Deck aka Rebel INS (b. Jason Hunter, New York, USA) and U-God, basing themselves in the Staten Island district of New York City.

With the obvious ommission of ODB on the guest list, the sound is still the same, just sharper. Rza sword continues to be cut with a diamond, and he will go down in the Hip Hop history books as one of the greatest producers. On the album, Wu-Tang Clan’s musical armoury centres around old school rhyming and trickery, with which the multi-contributors offers ample opportunity for quick fire wise-cracking and playing off each other. Rza’s musical backing is one of stripped down beats, with samples culled from kung-fu movies. The sound on this album is so raw, thick and raucous from the outset. “In the Hood“, and “Rules” are perfect examples of this. Method Man lends his vocals to the chorus’ in 2 of the hottest tracks “Y’all Been Warned” and “Radoactive“. Method seems to be at his best when he’s laying tracks with his brethren. The rest of the Wu always seems to bring out the best in him. His lyrics are cruder, meaner, and harsher. Ghostface and Raekwon have evolved into fine lyricists, and this album is a testament to that. They most definitely are worthy of any attention they receive. Inspectah Deck is still knocking them out, while GZA is educating the masses. U-God and Masta Killa, I’ve never thought were really strong lyrcially, but there style does fit nicely within the mold.

As the only real complaint, its this reviewer’s opinion that ODB is sorely missed. This album would have been off the charts with an injection of the Old Dirty Bastard. No matter what you think of Big Baby Jesus, he is one of the most charismatic and exciting MC’s to grace the Hip Hop landscape ever. A sample of him here or there couldn’t have hurt the proceedings now, could it? Other than the ommison of the ODB, the album is so short and hits with such brute force, that’s its over before you know it. Another candidate for album of the year. Get it.