RZA – Digi Snacks (2008): Review

digi

Produced by RZA, David Banner, King Tech and Panauh Kalayeh
Label – Wu Music Group/Koch

RZA says, “It’s the definitive and most focused album in the Bobby Digital trilogy”.

In terms of evolvement, by 2008 Robert Diggs was stuck between a rock and a hard place. With everyone reporting the stagnation and the impending demise of hip hop, the Wu Tang man, a genuine creative pioneer of an art form that just 15 years before was at its commercial pinnacle has a major conundrum to solve. Safely re-produce the expected artistic formula via his Shaolin loving persona, or chance his arm on a more experimental concept. “Digi Snacks”, the fourth solo record and labelled under the Bobby Digital moniker attempts both. Too steadfast to relinquish the strengths that have brought credit, he marks time and attempts carefully imaginative exploration in equal measure. The use of several producers, resulting in sharp sonic and rhythmic differentials may have been the key to the relative success of this collection. When it works the results are as strong as any of his previous recordings, but RZA expresses that this is his most focused album yet, which it blatantly isn’t, given the numerous contributors and lack of a definitive concept. For clear examples of this duality, take Panauh Kalayah’s tense backing to the excellent “Long Time Coming”, with its truck heavy bass keys and rhythms, directly followed by the uneven rhythmic flow of the David Banner produced “Straight Up The Block”, which sees RZA battling with Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, and losing badly. In addition, the lyrical flow seems dis-jointed as RZA stumbles from liberal splashes of social conscience to comical bravado, often within the same song.

RZA

For Wu-Tang fans there will be enough quality here to keep the faith. The lead single, “You Can’t Stop Me”, with its stripped down melody and insistent chorus, “Drama”, which contains memorable input from Monk and Thea van Seijen and the odd mix of George Clinton and El Debarge on “Up Again”, are all strong enough to keep the hardcore entertained. The problem lies in its limited appeal. There’s very little that leaps out of the speakers and shocks the system, or thrills hearts and minds. It was Bobby Digital’s weakest album of the trilogy and that’s simply because it’s the antithesis of focused. There’s just too many cooks to stir this watered down broth.

6/10

Track Listing
“Digi Snacks Intro”[4] (featuring Understanding) 2:07
“Long Time Coming” (featuring Danny Keyz) 4:11
“You Can’t Stop Me Now” (featuring Inspectah Deck) 4:09
“Straight Up the Block” 3:01
“Booby Trap” (featuring Dexter Wiggles) 3:40
“Try Ya Ya Ya” (featuring Monk & Thea Van Seijen 3:32
“Good Night” (featuring Rev William Burk, Crisis & Thea Van Seijen) 5:04
“No Regrets” 3:01
“Money Don’t Own Me” (featuring Monk & Stone Mecca) 4:52
“Creep” (featuring Black Knights, Northstar, Thea Van Seijen & Dexter Wiggles) 4:44
“Drama” (featuring Monk & Thea Van Seijen ) 5:00
“Up Again” (featuring John Frusciante, Beretta 9, Rev William Burk, George Clinton & El DeBarge) 6:19
“Put Your Guns Down” (featuring Star) 3:34
“Love Is Digi/Part II” (featuring Beretta 9, Crisis & Thea Van Seijen) 2:47
“O Day” 4:00

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