Friday, March 13, 2015

The Wu-Tang Clan Journey: "The Pillage"

This marks Cappadonna's official debut.


Release date: March 24, 1998



1. "Slang Editorial"
Produced by Tru Master

"My slang is editorial, explicit material/Briefcase show, live in stereo flow"


Those two lines from the hook paint the picture of this opening classic, the third best thing that Cappa has ever been a part of. I've always been a big fan of this song.
*5 out of 5*


2. "Pillage"
Featuring Killa Bamz
Produced by Goldfinghaz

This is another joint I've always liked, however, I gotta talk about Killa Bamz a bit (and if you're reading this Bamz, this is by no means any disrespect towards you). Bamz rides the beat nicely, but his lyrics were all over the place and to this day I still have no idea what the hell he was talking about, lol. Cappa later comes through with a good closing verse, even if his lyrics were also all over the place (but a little less than Bamz).
*4 out of 5*

3. "Run"
Produced by The RZA

If Cappa and RZA were going for the epic, Wu-Tang vibe/sound, they succeeded with this one. I remember seeing a commercial promoting this album, and when I heard the brief clip of this song, I knew right off the bat I was going to cop this one (and I'll have a little more to say about this towards the end as well). This is not only the second best thing that Cappa has been a part of (the first will be revealed towards the end also), but this is probably the finest storytelling (narrative) you're ever going to get from Cappa. TIGHT stuff here.
*5 out of 5*


4. "Blood On Blood War"
Additional Vocals by Killa Bamz
Produced by The RZA

The beat provided by RZA always made my head bob, but lyrically this was something else. Cappa seemingly throws some of the most random lyrics out there, including a weird bit (as highlighted in VIBE magazine's review of this album in 98) where he says "bad bread, spare life/KKK on the mic, power like this is fate". Um, what the hell was that about, lol?? Had this been more on point lyrically, it would've been a much better song as a result.
*3 out of 5*

5. "Supa Ninjaz"
Featuring Method Man and U-God
Produced by Tru Master

What a DOPE, Tru Master produced banger this was. U-God and Meth just rip this joint to shreds (especially Meth). however, Cappa followed up with a pretty good verse.
*5 out of 5*


6. "MCF"
Produced by The RZA

"Money come first", that's the theme here. Again, it was like Cappa was all over the place lyrically, but towards the end he seemed to bring things back full circle. He worked this beat too, I'll give him that.
*4 out of 5* 

7. "Splish Splash"
Produced by Tru Master

Listening to this joint again, not only does Cappa drop one full verse with no hook, but he was going for a true throwback vibe, lyrically. It came off like something he would've rapped in 88, but he brought it with a 98 style, if that makes sense. Fast paced and pretty good.
*4 out of 5*

8. "Oh-Donna"
Featuring Ghostface Killah
Produced by Mathematics

While Cappa's off beat hook left something to be desired, this was a good song with a nice running baseline throughout. Ghostface comes with a flow that would be front and center on his second album, "Supreme Clientele".
*4 out of 5*

9. "Milk The Cow"
Additional Vocals by Method Man
Produced by Tru Master

"My momma told me, when I was so stressed out/All you gotta do is put your best out"


Lyrically this was not too bad, but to this day I'm still not fully sure as to what Cappa was truly going for here. I remember me and my long time friend Shaun was talking about this in 98, and he was like, "I wanna say the song is dope, but I don't get it man". Decent, but nothing special, and interestingly enough, he made a video for this in 2011.
*3 out of 5*

10. "South Of The Border"
Produced by Tru Master

The way Cappa was rapping here, it sounded like he was showing love to the South mostly because he has roots there. That's what I gather from this one. Fair song to be sure.
*3 out of 5*

11. "Check For A Nigga"
Produced by 4th Disciple

No matter where you are in the world, check for Cappa, lol, he'll be in a town near you! And towards the end, did he REALLY say "if you in the woods, check for a nigga/if you in the GARBAGE, check for a nigga"????? You know what, lol, without trying to analyze this any further, let's move quickly to another Wu banga.
*2 out of 5* 

12. "Dart Throwing"
Featuring Raekwon and Method Man
Produced by Tru Master

Cappa came with an ok verse towards the end, but less like "Supa Ninjaz", there was almost no way he was going to follow Rae and Meth here, as the latter two just completely own this. Tru Master was on another level with this one because his beat here is just SICK, no question!
*5 out of 5*


13. "Young Hearts"
Featuring Blue Raspberry
Produced by The RZA

Cappa comes with one verse (along with Blue Raspberry on the hook) on this brief joint for the ladies. Cappa is seemingly at peace with himself (towards the end that is), even during the apparent struggles with the "side chick/girlfriend". Simple and to the point.
*3 out of 5*

14. "Everything Is Everything"
Additional Vocals by Rhyme Recca
Produced by Goldfinghaz

This was another song that had the potential to be better than it actually was. It's ok, but that's not saying much here.
*3 out of 5*

15. "Pump Your Fist"
Featuring Tekitha and Killa Bamz
Produced by The RZA

I remember liking this one a lot back in the day (mostly due to RZA's beat), but years after the fact this particular song hasn't aged well. Cappa and especially Killa Bamz came with verses that were all over the place (again), while Tekitha's verse, which wasn't bad, seemed like it was her very first time rapping. The half-hearted "call & response" hook did this one no favors either.
*3 out of 5*

16. "Black Boy"
Featuring Tekitha
Produced by Goldfinghaz

Cappa was trying to go for an introspective close to this album, but it fell a little short. Decent, nothing more or less.
*3 out of 5*



Before I get to my overall thoughts on Cappa's debut, allow me to start with the best thing that Cappa has been a part of, something I alluded during this post. Now, the consensus has always been that his verse on "Winter Warz" is his best verse ever, something I agree with as well, but his best song no doubt was "97 Mentality", which you can check out below.



Over the years, I frequently said that had this song been on "The Pillage", I would've given it 4 stars, but after this revisit, I have changed my mind on that. Even if "97 Mentality" was on this album, either as a bonus track or part of the official tracklisting, my rating would still remain the same, which is 3.5 stars. Lyrically, Cappa is all over the place/up and down throughout this album (even random at various points too) and there's nothing here that'll remind you of the verses he laced on "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx", "Ironman", and even "Wu-Tang Forever", respectively. Production wise it's on point, as well as the guest appearances thanks to Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and U-God. Furthermore, the clear highlights here are "Slang Editorial", "Run", "Supa Ninjaz", "Dart Throwing", "Oh-Donna""Splish Splash", and "MCF". It also goes without saying that even though he would release 7 more albums ("The Yin and the Yang", "The Struggle", "The Capitalize Project", "Slang Prostitution", "The Pilgrimage", "Earth, Wynd and Fire", a double album, and "Hook Off", which was QUIETLY released on June 17, 2014), "The Pillage" remains his best album and the ONLY subsequent album that comes (slightly) close to matching it in terms of quality is 2011's "The Pilgrimage". Overall, "The Pillage" represents Cappadonna at his peak as an MC.


Next up, Method Man's second album, "Tical 2000: Judgement Day".

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