The Wu-Tang Clan made for some lousy overlords of rap. Sure, they had the sales. Sure, they had the skills. And sure, they had the shtick. But once the nine-man crew made it to the top of the heap, something about their presentation seemed off. Hip-hop kingpins are meant to swagger through their domains with the relaxed panache of a Mafia don, like Jay-Z or Biggie, or else lay back up in the hills with snide self-possession amid supermodel backrubs and widescreen TVs, like Dre. You just can't be the king of New York and a ninja assassin simultaneously. The champion's mantle was ill-settled on the shoulders of a pack who, some half a decade back, had made the braggart exposés of West Coast gangsta rap sound course, awkward, and obvious. The Wu-Tang's unlikely trick: crossing 1930s Italian gangster lingo with 1730s Japanese martial-arts mythos, then recombining that blend with 2130's... More >>>