Audio Mixer: Arnold Mischkulnig.
Photographers: Stan Oh; Daga Samitowska.
U-God has long been one of the lesser-known MCs in the massive Wu-Tang Clan, and while the urgent, alive, and altogether awesome moments of Keynote Speaker suggest he's certifiably "slept on," there are enough redundant numbers on this 50-minute release to put him back in the category of "acquired taste." Acquire the taste for hard-hitting beats, a nostalgic stance, and cold punch lines and the album is one of his best, with the space disco and surprising "Stars" plus the stern-and-sure title track offering great examples of the artist's strengths. A vibraphone riff, a Kool Keith appearance, and the line "Sit back, let me Quincy Jones this sh*t" are the reasons "Journey" winds up pick number three, while guest appearances from GZA and Styles P, plus executive production from RZA, make this one sound old in the best meaning of the word. ~ David Jeffries