Digital Wax #1

MC Jin - "I Gotta' Love" (feat. Kanye West)
(I Gotta' Love 12"; Ruff Ryders)
The age old adage about battle rappers being inept songwriters is practically a law of nature at this point. Earlier this year, at the Summer Madness sequel organized by SMACK DVD, Detroit native Calicoe accused his opponent of being "the reason why labels think battle rappers can't make songs today." The line didn't garner an over-the-top reaction from Webster Hall's peanut gallery in real time. But in light of the newfangled awfulness of Loaded Lux's latest single, it was arguably the sharpest jab landed throughout the entire battle. It wasn't always like this. Rza, Gza and Ol' Dirty Bastard infamously caravanned across New York City in search of worthy competition. Eminem made his bones on the mid-90's battle circuit. Lord Finesse and The Outsidaz, among others, have even released categorically phenomenal punchline-driven records. In trying to pinpoint the exact moment in the time continuum when battle rappers became absolutely useless in recording studios, many would refer back to MC Jin's ill-fated 2004 Ruff Ryders debut, "Speak Chinese," featuring Wyclef Jean.

Jin Au-Yeung was the Jeremy Lin of rap music. The only considerable difference in their career trajectories is that judging from the tepid sales of his inaugural album, "The Rest Is History," Chinese Americans failed to galvanize around "Jinsanity." That's not necessarily an insult. Lin is a pretty decent ball player, and Jin wasn't a shabby rapper. Last week I came across Jin's collaboration with a College Dropout era Kanye West at Joe's Record Paradise for $4. The production sounds like most of Yeezy's work post-Blueprint and pre-Late Registration. Off-kilter hand claps and repetitive soul samples channeling Alvin, Simon and Theodore. In other words the song sounds dreadfully dated. But structurally, it's a pretty impressive outing for Jin. The singy-songy hook isn't cringe inducing, and his approach to wordplay is more Sporty Thieves than Slaughterhouse. You can't really go wrong standing opposite of Joe Budden.

Mobb Deep - "Drop a Gem on 'Em (Radio Edit)"
(Drop A Gem On 'Em 12"; Loud Records)

If you're old enough to have rooted for Mobb Deep back when they released one of at least half a dozen albums better than Reasonable Doubt in 1996, the radio edit for "Drop a Gem on 'Em" is puzzling. Why edit a song that was never marketed to urban radio? According to the Prodigy's autobiography, "My Infamous Life," their diss record targeting Tupac Shakur was originally intended to be the lead single for Hell On Earth. "We were the only [New Yorkers] to make a comeback song," Prodigy writes in his memoir. "When we found out what happened to Tupac we immediately pulled our single, "Drop a Gem on ’Em," off the radio out of respect for his family." After the Las Vegas assassination, Loud Records pressed up and distributed the album's title track and focused their efforts into pushing it as a single.

When considering the greatest rap group of all time, I implore you to take into account the fact that the least talented member of Wu-Tang Clan has a b-side titled "Wildstyle Suppa' Freak," on which he exchanges bars with his dust carrier over an uprock production credited to DJ Homocide for "Super Nigga Incorperated" AND IT IS NOTHING SHORT OF WONDROUS!!!


  1. I bought that U-God 12" especially Wildstyle Suppa Freak after hearing it on some radio show.

    U-God >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Masta Killa.

  2. @MF I prefer Masta Killa to U-God, but far be it from me to interrupt a Golden Arms love fest.

  3. U-God def upped his bars.. But the Masta>>>>