Mathematics Soul of a Man

While Wu-Tang head chief and master producer RZA has long been viewed as the embodiment of the crew’s sound, official Clan DJ/co-producer Mathematics has probably had as much to do with crafting and maintaining that sound as his mentor. Not only did he have his hands all over follow-up discs by Ghostface, GZA and Method Man, but his subsequent solo efforts have been the only recordings in recent years to unite the entire Clan. Soul of a Man takes a retrospective look at the beatsmith’s far-from-celebrated career, serving up two discs respectively of unreleased beats and classic material. The album serves as an instructional CD for would be producers, as all the intricacies once masked by the mighty Wu’s lyrics are revealed, from purposely off-beat drum patterns to diced up breaks and errant vocal samples. Listening to the technical level involved in producing the Wu should prove interesting to anyone who’s ever tried to breathe life into a simplistic sample loop. Be forewarned though that digesting an entire double album of instrumentals that were never meant to be consumed MC-less in one sitting is a repetitive test that may not be worth its rewards. (Nature Sounds)