As chairman, muse, and beatmaker for the Wu-Tang Clan, RZA casts a shadow big enough to shade all but a few marquee members of his extended family. Those in the know, however, are very much aware that many of the crew's most explosive bangers — from "Cobra Clutch" to "Thang Thang" — were cooked not by the king Wu producer but by his most disciplined beat disciple and long-time Clan show DJ, Allah Mathematics.
This Wu & Friends project doesn't quite equal the effort put forth by Mathematics on his 2003 debut, Love, Hell or Right. Neither do the standout beats match those that shine on his best-of instrumental bundle, Soul of a Man. Still, on "Respect 2010" and "Treez" with Raekwon, Mathematics conjures a distinct Wu melancholy that outsiders can only imitate. Most impressive here, however, is Method Man.
Although critics tend to judge his solo work unfairly, Meth is in fact always at his best when shooting darts alongside comrades, and this romp is his most imaginative in years. That said, it took some Mathematics magic to get the Clan's Velcro–throated toke legend to step back up and butter everybody's bread on "All Flowers" and "Iron God Chamber."