Masta Killa No Said Date

With this release, it’s now official that every member of the Wu-Tang Clan has released a solo album. Masta Killa is the last one up to bat and it’s clear he wants to bring things full circle to the way things were for the once impregnable Staten Island crew. No Said Date features the entire Wu-Tang Clan, no mean feat in recent years, and sonically harkens back to the Wu’s heyday with dissonant sounds and kung-fu samples. Given the fact that Ghostface has been the only Wu-Tang member to significantly resonate with heads in a while, Masta Killa has nothing to lose with this approach. His calm, measured flow grows on you after awhile, shining on the DJ-checking "Digi Warfare” and on the smoothed-out "Queen.” His understated style can however be a blessing and a curse. While it can be a welcome and complementary contrast against the maniacal presence of ODB on standout "Old Man,” it also leaves him susceptible to having the focus stolen from him as RZA does on "School,” delivering a searing establishment-querying verse. While the album itself is one of the best Wu efforts in a while, its featured vocalist fails to stamp his own intangible charisma or lyrical intricacy on the proceedings. (Nature Sounds)