Holy shit…I love free albums. Let me amend that last statement. I appreciate when albums are offered for free despite the obvious level of work put into the product. Wugazi is a project unsurprisingly combining the work of post punk anti-idols Fugazi and hip hop icons The Wu Tang Clan. Because the nature of the mashup does not allow for large commercial gain, a majority of projects are given away for free. This makes me smile not just because of the harsh economic climate but because when an album has so much thought and craftsmanship put into it, offering it for free is nothing more than giving one of the best Christmas presents in the middle of July.
Mashups work at times when others they do not. To successfully create a mashup, one must find two elements that not only work together but were initially thought of as being incompatible. More rare than the mashup is the combination of two source materials rather than a variety of songs. One popular example is Danger Mouse’s Grey Album, which was a combination of Jay Z’s Black Album and The Beatles’ White Album. I only bring this project up as I believe the Grey Album is not a good mashup as Jay Z’s parts flood the mix leaving the Beatles as merely a back up band. Combining elements is hard. Combining an entire album comprised of only two source materials is even harder. Having one of those elements be a moody post punk band while the other is a fuck wild hip hop group is nearly impossible — until now.
As stated before, Wugazi combines the work of Fugazi and the near infinite catalog of Wu Tang related albums. Since the hip hop group has numerous members and affiliates, the resources from the Wu Tang side are almost limitless. This project was first announced with the release of “Sleep Rules Everything Around Me,” a touching combination of Fugazi’s “I’m So Tired” with the popular Wu Tang single “C.R.E.A.M.” The song not only arrived with zero hype, it came with a deafening explosion as listeners were exposed to a world where two venerable artists could co-exist. Having the first single being a success is great but the Wugazi project promised a full album which would soon follow. While the rest of the album varies in quality, it is still a damn fine success to a musical bond no one ever thought to combine.
When Wugazi works it does because it allows both elements to strengthen each other. The two acts have been noted for their passion and emotional content and the combination of the two is nothing short of a torrent of aggression and vigilance. Like “Sleep Rules Everything Around Me, “Shame On a Blue” combines the restrained anger of Fugazi’s “Blue Print” with the near improbable optimism of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Brooklyn Zoo.” While the two songs never seem to compliment each other conceptually, the combination creates a new type of energy.
This energy can be seen throughout 13 Chambers but makes itself known in tracks like “Sweet Release.” Taking Fugazi’s “Sweet and Low” instrumental and using it as a foundation to Method Man’s “Release Yo’ Self,” makes one question why this meet and greet wasn’t done sooner. Throughout 13 Chambers, a type of cohabitation is built where neither part fights for recognition. The two elements coexist and become dependent on each other like some weird mating experiment in an underground lab. “Nowhere To Wait” which is an unsuspected marriage between Gravediggaz’s “Nowhere To Run” and Fugazis “Closed Caption/ Waiting Room” is a triumph which provides the album with an unexpected heavyweight in terms of style and substance. Though the original Fugazi riff is changed in terms of tempo, the entire song plays like a dichotomy between immediate horror-rap terror and idle punk rumination.
Hip hop is very arresting and sometimes overshadowing to everything else around. Within the mashup world, one can either acknowledge its heavy density or pretend that it will work with just anything. I was not given a chance to evaluate the combination of Fugazi and Wu Tang Clan before I heard the product. If one were to ask me what I thought, I would probably give a long winded speech on the elemental properties of music genres. I would even say that a proposed bond could never exist. Wugazi has surprised me and has left me no choice other than to applaud their work in the field musical science.
>>>the album can be downloaded here…for free…as it should be http://wugazi.com/>>>
Wugazi’s 13 Chambers Tracklist:
1. Sleep Rules Everything Around Me
2. Suicide Surprise
3. Another Chessboxin’ Argument
4. Ghetto Afterthought
5. Sweet Release
6. Shame on Blue
7. Slow Like That
8. Floating Labels
9. P.L.O Squared
10. Nowhere to Wait
11. Last Chance for the Clientele Kid
12. Killa Hill
13. Forensic Shimmy