Uncontrolled Substance

As the latest member of the [a]Wu Tang Clan[/a] to step out of the shadows into the solo arena, [a]Inspectah Deck[/a] has a point to prove to the rap world....

Uncontrolled Substance

8 / 10 As the latest member of the Wu Tang Clan to step out of the shadows into the solo arena, Inspectah Deck has a point to prove to the rap world. And the self-styled lyrical swordsman does not disappoint. As steeped in revolutionary philosophies as he is in the arts of ghetto warfare and ghetto love, he brings a tenacity and verbal power to his craft that'll stun anyone already familiar with the monk-like mysteries and lyrical gymnastics of the Wu.

The whole idea of Inspectah Deck's debut solo effort is to use the metaphor of hip-hop as an addictive drug, with heavy side-effects for undiscerning users. Like what George Clinton used to call 'uncut funk', his stuff isn't easily available over the counter. He aims to write prescriptions - in the form of songs - for the ills blighting underprivileged African-Americans, while also revelling in gritty, slang-filled, real-life reportage.

Off the bat, 'Movas & Shakers' seems delightfully monstrous; an old-skool party tune with an elaborate rhyme structure that states Deck has heard the SOS call and returned to bless his people. From there on in, the tightly produced album retains a basement funk feel, and divides its time between seduction tunes ('Femme Fatale', 'Forget Me Not', 'Lovin You'), political tracts based on esoteric religious teachings ('Show And Prove', 'The Cause') and straight-up hip-hop (the rest).

Who but members of the Wu-Tang would employ a Formula One racing metaphor for a tag-team rap battle, as Deck, U-God and Street Life do on 'The Grand Prix'? And who would have the savvy and suss to recapture Marvin Gaye's 'Trouble Man' in spirit, and relocate it at the site of some shady street shenanigans? Inspectah Deck has been a well-kept secret for too long.

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