Founding Wu-Tang Clan member GZA/Genius is most definitely back in the hip-hop spotlight with the release of his new album, “Pro Tools.” Though it arrived more than three years after his collaboration with DJ Muggs (founder of Cypress Hill), and more than five years after his last solo album, “Legend of the Liquid Sword,” the new album is yet another masterpiece of production and lyrics.
It starts out with “Intromental,” a slow, placid introduction that quickly brings listeners back up to tempo with the Wu-Tang swagger we all know and love, setting the pace for the rest of the album. That eerie, iconic Wu-Tang sound is as pronounced as ever. The production team on this album featured mainly Wu-Tang members. In fact, GZA’s original intention was to make a compilation album.
The album covers topics ranging from his feud with 50 Cent in “Paper Plates,” to an introspective profile of an urban youth in “Short Race.” Featured on the album is his son, Justice, who tag teams with his father in a graphic narrative on the track “Cinema.” But, of course, this wouldn’t be a GZA album without war-related imagery, best represented in the song “Columbian Ties.” GZA proves that his lyrical prowess has far from disappeared. His use of similes and puns keeps the listener smiling, and portrays GZA’s darkly humorous side. The track “0% Finance” consists almost entirely of SUV-related puns. By the end of this album, it’s clear that GZA still holds his spot as one of the masters of East Coast hip-hop.