Audio Mixers: Jamel Irief; P.F. Cuttin.
Photographer: Chad Griffith.
Arrangers: Jamel Irief; P.F. Cuttin.
He may be the quietest and least known of the core Wu-Tang Clan members, but rapper Masta Killa makes great strides toward shaking those qualities on Selling My Soul, his first solo album in six years. Course, if you ask the Masta, this is his first solo album ever in its way, as both No Said Date (2004) and Made in Brooklyn (2006) were both filled with enough Wu affiliates and RZA and/or Bronze Nazareth productions that they were almost proper Clan albums. Here, his only guests are Kurupt and a posthumous verse from Ol' Dirty Bastard, with outside folks like 9th Wonder and Koolade offering beats alongside Allah Mathematics and Inspectah Deck. The title works two ways, being an indication that Masta is going to get pleasingly personal, but also that the productions are steeped in soul and R&B, offering a more upbeat and clean sound than the usual Wu murk and a Masta Killa companion to Ghostface's retro effort Ghostdini the Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City. Check the worthy bouncer "Food" for Killa's wonderful, stream-of-consciousness look back at his struggle toward the top, or the Ghostface tribute "R U Listening," which mixes ninjas, credos, and a lazy, yet very effective, hook. ~ David Jeffries