Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The RZA Hits [Razor Sharp/Epic, 1999]
If Enter the Wu-Tang is a block party mythologized into a masterwork, its endless spinoffs are soirees in smoke-filled rooms, where intimates tender messages and crack jokes newcomers can only pretend to understand. So this public work is a public service. Never mind that it pulls three tracks from the source and two each from the most obvious solo exceptions, by ODB and Ghostface Killah. Just be grateful that for once they're celebrating the obvious--the anthemic, the obscene, the braggadocious. In this context, even Raekwon sounds like a regular guy. Says the produceur: "That's enough information right there to get you involved, get you inside the system." Whereupon he sets off a three-minute Wu Wear ad. A-