By: Andrew Bruss
Digi Snacks (released June 24 on Koch), the third release from Bobby Digital, the alter ego of Wu-Tang founder RZA, is by far his best solo effort, and demonstrates a new plateau of production value, surpassing any of his previous work.
Having produced the majority of Wu-Tang's material and the bulk of his clansmen's solo work, his role in the Wu-Tang Empire has always been far more significant than his role as an MC. He has consistently been the musical director for everything he says falls under what he calls "The Wu Tang Brand." As he has grown as an instrumental musician, his ability to build beats from the bottom up has provided him with a brand new set of tools to make his music.
His first Bobby Digital release, 1998's Bobby Digital Goes Stereo, was a far out, sci-fi fantasy world of sexploitation, far from anything you'd expect from the man who laid the beat on "Bring Da Ruckus." But, as he followed that album with 2001's Digital Bullet and now Digi Snacks, the RZA has refined his method of music production, storytelling through the use of live instruments, thanks to Wu-Tang "future-soul" act Stone Mecca. Digi Snacks offers listeners a much more polished album of Bobby Digital material than previously hinted at.
The intro sets the stage for a concept album about a "digital elixir that transforms you into a powerful being that struggles with the good and evil within." The album gets in your face early, keeping the beats heavy with live bass and keys that bring a new level of warmth to his tunes in a way that sampled sounds never could.
On "Long Time Coming," he dives into Samurai culture, faith and Supreme Mathematics with lines like "the mathematician who calculated god from niggar," and flows like "Nine concubines and nine wives/ Nine lives. Nine plans written on my side/ We carry nine knives." His lyrics on this album are above par compared to his previous solo work, but recording with Stone Mecca has on this album is what truly lifts Digi Snacks above and beyond anything else the RZA has done on his own.
Fans of Wu-Tang Clan might find this album to be too far out, though people who generally don't take to the Clan might find something on it that they're drawn to. Either way, Digi Snacks offers listeners a truly fresh array of sounds and stories.
JamBase | Shaolin
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