Artist: U-GodTitle: Mr. ExcitementRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Danielle Stolich
Last heard in 2004 when he released the LP, Ugodzilla Presents: The Hillside Scramblers, original Wu-Tang member U-God recently released his second solo album, Mr. Excitement (Free Agency). Best known for his trademark baritone as well as his unique delivery, U-God returns with an album that creatively pushes the envelope when it comes to production and rhyme styles. But creativity fails to make up for this veterans inability to keep a listeners attention and this clearly separates Mr. Excitement from his 1999 critically-acclaimed debut album, Golden Arms Redemption.
Production-wise, Wu-Tang super-producer RZA is absent on this album, however U-God enlists the talents of Wu-affiliate 4th Disciple and newcomers Produkt and Mike Bairdi., who do not disappoint. Much of the LPs sound is influenced by rock and funk, creating futuristic backdrops as eccentric as the rhymes U-God creates. At best, the tracks are refreshing and compliment U-Gods flow and style. The fast-paced Its A Wrap (featuring Letha Face) is reminiscent of early Wu days, with its layered production and funky horns. As the two trade lines back and forth, U-God shines with his rapid-fire delivery and vivid imagery. Hit Em Up, Roll Out is another gem where U-God spits short bars filled with his trademark wit over a slow, rock-influenced track.
Aside from these few standouts, the album loses steam with songs like Kick Azz, You Dont Want to Dance and Heart of Stone. These tracks prove that U-God shines brightest when telling stories instead spitting hot sixteens. None of the tracks have that attention-getting bounce and energy that made his Top Ten Billboard single Bizarre a favorite among new and old Wu-Tang fans. Also, Bump, his attempt at a party joint, fails to make your head nod or your body rock. And with lines like Dip low, get doe, lemme put these dollars between your legs/Bounce off the walls, careful on my b*lls cause they fragile as eggs, he sounds simply vulgar, unable to pull off this stripper ode with the panache of a more club-friendly artist.
U-God gets credit for effort and breaking new ground musically with Mr. Excitement. In todays Hip-Hop world, it is much-appreciated when an emcee keeps it new and fresh, however this album jumbled collage of words, sounds and styles not only makes the originality hard to follow and but also hard to enjoy.