Rebel INS is often looked to as the lead-off hitter for the Wu — “Protect Ya Neck”, “Triumph”, and “The Jump Off” were all set in motion by a verse from him. Here at ML, we think differently…
… so we’re closing out our countdown with Inspectah Deck. 8 Diagrams in stores today, just in case you forgot.
Download: Inspectah Deck – “Let Me At ‘Em” (off Tales From The Hood OST, 1995)
This track was billed as a Wu-Tang Clan track, but Deck is the only MC on it. I’ve probably said this before (or at least alluded to it), but if Deck had released a solo LP in between Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers and Wu-Tang Forever, like around ’95-’96, it could’ve ranked up there with Liquid Swords and Only Built 4 Cuban Linx in terms of greatness.
Download: Wu-Tang Clan – “Iron Flag” (off Iron Flag, 2001)
If The W and Iron Flag, released just 1 year apart from each other, had been consolidated into 1 album, the demand amongst the public and the inspiration within the Wu to come together for 8 Diagrams might not have been as (deceivingly?) high as it’s been — in this sense, maybe the fact that both prior albums were fairly half-and-half was a blessing in disguise. But, imagining that they were consolidated into 1 album, you’d have to think that the first half of this track would’ve made the cut — the production is vintage RZA, and all MCs are at the top of their game, especially Deck (who impressively rhymes all 14 bars with the same multi-syllable pattern). Meanwhile, the last half of this song — the uninspired “Good Thing We Brought The Glock” interlude — hopefully would’ve ended up on the cutting-room floor.
Download: GZA – “Cold World” featuring Inspectah Deck (off Liquid Swords, 1995)
I realize that I’ve already bigged up Method Man’s verse(s) on “Shadowboxin’” and RZA’s verse on “4th Chamber”, but I can’t not pay homage to this classic. Deck and GZA both spit such vivid portrayals of project life, almost trying to outdo each other. Liquid Swords might be the greatest solo rap album to have such consistently-great guest appearances.
Download: Gang Starr – “Above The Clouds” featuring Inspectah Deck (off Moment Of Truth, 1999)
If you peeped our Beat Drop on DJ Premier, you already know about this track. And if you’re a true hip hop head, then you didn’t us to bring this song to your attention. To all up-and-coming MCs who get an opportunity to appear on a legendary artist’s/group’s album, take Deck’s verse here as Exhibit A of what you’re supposed to do with that opportunity.