The Great Migration

Artist: Bronze NazarethTitle: The Great MigrationRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine

When the RZA opted to play a more removed role from Wu-Tang Clan’s solo projects, there were several appointed heirs: Mathematics, 4th Disciple, and Bronze Nazareth. The last, a Michigan native, impressed RZA to the point of landing work on the Birth of the Prince album. Since, Bronze Nazareth has provided dusty chunks of funk for 2005’s Think Differently project. A product of the same movement, Bronze Nazareth’s hunger on his debut The Great Migration (Think Differently/Babygrande) must borrow from his days Greyhounding it from Grand Rapids to New York to get discovered.

Acknowledged only for his beats to date, it’s remarkable what Bronze Nazareth has to say. “Stolen Van Gogh” uses a brooding, slow flow that metaphorically reclaims the stolen artform. The cutting imagery is reminiscent of early Method Man work, though the flow is much more simple (in a good way). “Black Royalty” uses nature references to conjure images of self-pride. The diction is powerful, as the presentation is seamless.

The soulful grit of early Wu albums bleeds into The Great Migration. The brass and vocal chops of “The Pain” feel as though they were produced in 1971, unaltered. “Poem Burial Ground” uses a similar form, adding more contemporary drums. Beyond just interesting beats, Bronze brings lyrics from himself and guests that complement the music wonderfully. The album is dark truth. The music is as pained as the subject matter. Musically, this album’s only fault is that while Bronze Nazareth has some of RZA’s talents, the memorable interludes are hardly one of them.

Since the late ‘90s, Wu-Tang’s extended family has struggled for scraps of quality in their music. For those in search of channeling the excitement of those early days, Bronze Nazareth is the premier tour-guide on The Great Migration. While none of the original Clan members appear, Bronze, along with guests including Sean Price, Killa Sin, and Timbo King make do very well. Though the material is a bit chilly for an early summer release, this album is as true to Wu form as any in the last two years.