Mathematics – “The Problem” Review
Wednesday July 13th 2005,
Filed under: Albums,Reviews
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As a rule, I don’t really mess with stuff connected to the the Wu-Tang Clan these days unless it’s from The Chef or Ghost, but that “Respect Mine” single that Mathematics dropped a while back was nice (despite being the third song of the same name to use that hook). I didn’t catch the album that was from, but he’s just delivered the follow-up on the Nature Sounds label. The Problem presents a mix of original recipe “older gods” and young upstarts, who suprisingly steal the show more often than not. Understandably, some of the “Protect Ya Neck” squad aren’t sounding as hungry as they once did, which may explain why the usually unstoppable Genius – who still delivers – doesn’t dominate proceedings as he did ten years ago.

T. Slugz (not sure if this is the same Troy Slugz that did that record with Marley Marl and Pete Rock) and Eyeslow caught my ear on the outstanding “C What I C”, which, despite treading familiar ground on some “observations in the neighbourhood” type of shit, is a dope song. “Strawberries and Cream” gets the whole “rap about broads” thing back on track after the uninspired “Ice Cream 2” from Rae’s last effort. Ghost steals the show as usual as he details swinging an episode back in his high school days. “Real Nillaz” also proves to be an effective Wu reunion, while “Break That Break” features a suprise ODB appearence, as he declares “I can take a punch or get hit by a car, or go to the nearest or farthest star” over the “Rising To The Top” loop.

Method Man contributes a couple of tracks, which is good news for whatever fans he still has left, but really only serve to remind me of how annoying he can be. Ali Vegas, who’s been missing in action for a while, also turns up for an energetic cameo. At sixteen tracks, there are a couple of skippable moments (“Coach Talk” and “Two Shots of Henny” in particular), but Math has assembled a nice variety of songs which, despite not straying too far from the blueprint drawn-up by theRZA, still manage to carve-out a distinct musical identity. This results in a project that proves to be essential listening for Shaolin diehards, while still keeping the less dedicated disciples amongst us entertained.

Trivia Extra:
According to his bio, Math is also known to get busy with the Krylon, and is actually responsible for designing the world-famous Wu-Tang logo! Not only that, but he used to DJ for Mr. X (of “We Drink Old Gold” fame). It’s unclear if Mathematics was Mr. Z, but either way I had no idea he’s history ran that deep. He also rolled with the Genius during his Cold Killin days, which pretty much dispells any ideas I might have had about him being just another weed carrier for the RZA.

Review copy supplied courtesy of Shogun Distribution.

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7 Comments so far
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No mp3’s..?

This has put me in the mood to listen to “respect mine” by Fat Joe and Raekwon.

Comment by Brian Beck From Wisconsin 07.15.05 @

Maths also used to be the DJ at early Wu shows. His first album is kinda patchy too but has the outstanding “Pimpology 101” which samples one of my favourite soul songs, “I Choose You” by Willie Hutch. It’s pretty much a straight loop but it’s got some sloppygood unquantized Ced style snares on top.

Also let us not forget that Allah Mathematics also produced “Mighty Healthy” AKA “The greatest rap song of the new millenium”.

Comment by beez 07.16.05 @

Strawberries and Cream is the joint.
Love that song.

I thought the John 3.16 track was sort of a return to form for Method Man.

Comment by bob d 07.18.05 @

Mathematics’ “Love, Hell or Right” is one of the better late-era Wu efforts. Definitely stands above Method Man, U-God, Masta Killa, and Inspectah Deck’s second or third albums in terms of cohesiveness and quality.

Comment by Mike C 07.18.05 @

“I thought the John 3.16 track was sort of a return to form for Method Man.”

I guess it is, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the Ticallian Stallion (?) in his prime anyway.

Comment by Robbie 07.19.05 @

Ghost’s verse on “Strawberries” is just a repeat of some shit he spit on _bulletproof wallets_.

Comment by nesta 07.24.05 @

i have a mp3 of real nillaz. ghost uses the same verse on the j-love joint starks & chef. pretty hot song…only thing is the version i have has some strange interruption with a cat’s voice saying “if you gotta somethin to say why don’t you just come out and say it…” i’m assuming these aren’t on the album version…?

Comment by thesurgeongeneral 08.04.05 @

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