Masta Killa – No Said Date (Throwback Thursday Review)

Masta Killa’s debut is an interesting one. Being the last member to join the Wu Tang Clan, he’s one of the more elusive ones. He never received a proper RZA backed album like many of the other Clan members, with this debut arriving in 2004. Despite not being a fully produced RZA project, it still has managed to be one the better releases, especially from the 00s output of the Clan.

“No Said Date” is the most involved track here. It directly addresses the lack of a debut album, and properly delivers a track fans have been itching for. The RZA produced track is high energy, and allows Masta Killa to string these incredibly dense multis while also providing a solid introduction to the man himself. While the rest of the album is an enjoyable listen, a track like this proves that Masta Killa could’ve truly benefitted from a proper RZA produced album.

We came to collect, the debt is overdue yo

Set to connect with Deck, we pushin’ through

Yvette with the red Corvette from Lafayette

Songs like “Grab The Microphone” & “School” feel like they immediately transport you back to beginning where it all began. “Grab The Microphone” feels like a proper old school intro, taking you back to the art of emceeing. The track exudes this feeling of being in at a live performance with a empty spaces in the hook to bring the crowd together. “School” feels something of an origin story for the rapper, with the beginnings of learning to rap and the questioning of the school system at large.

The album is properly backed with Wu-Tang members and affiliates. “Secret Rivals” is backed with Method Man & Killah Priest, an interesting duo to see since Masta Killa usurped Killah Priest’s spot on “Da Mystery of Chessboxin'” so many years prior. “Silverbacks” is another interesting listen, since Masta Killa’s flow sounds like a combination of GZA & Inspectah Deck already. All three appear on the track and provide some of the best lyrics possible on the album.

Wu-Tang being for the children gets solidifed on the track “The Future,” having the kids rap their lyrics. Speaking of which, there is an Ol Dirty Bastard performance on the album. ODB has been known for his eccentric performances, but the one on this album is one of the most head scratching yet. He does a mixture of the McDonald’s theme and quotes the Sanford & Son TV show. There’s no proper verse on this from him either, just this very oddly placed intro and outro on the track. Thankfully, RZA & Masta Killa keep the track grounded with their verses.

Tracks about women have always been a weak spot in hip hop releases. A lot of the times it comes down to poor execution or unsettling lyrics, and this album has a bit of both on it. “Love Spell” is easily the worst track on the album, featuring one of the most obnoxious performances from an R&B singer ever. The other track “Queen” however is one of the better tracks on the album, with a luxurious sample used for the hook and lyrics about trying to build a strong relationship with the moments that come with it.

The track “D.T.D.” is a fantastic highlight but also showcases how Masta Killa’s voice is nowhere near as strong as his contemporaries. Raekwon’s voice is commanding, truly pulling you towards him. Meanwhile, Masta Killa’s flow is much more monotone and relaxed. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it sets up for a show-stopping Ghostface Killah verse. Ghost’s bombastic verse with his raw lyrics completely steal the thunder from Masta on the track, which probably was not the intention.

Overall, the album is a solid listen. While there are weak moments within it, it is a crucial listen for the most in-tune fans of the Wu-Tang Clan. It can’t be helped but feel like there could have been a better album here, probably could be brought together by stronger production choices and cutting of some tracks. However, what is brought to the table is an enjoyable listen that might be worth a reevaluation for some that have missed it.

Stream No Said Date

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