Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Legend of the Liquid Sword [MCA, 2002] **
  • Pro Tools [Babygrande, 2008] B+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Legend of the Liquid Sword [MCA, 2002]
"Record execs wanna push the album way back?/And hold back my advance? They didn't pay that" ("Rough Cut," "Knock, Knock") **

Pro Tools [Babygrande, 2008]
Never thought I'd say this, but RZA isn't missed--the budget production enhances a master lyricist's specialty by subtraction. After dispensing with the "horrific torture by prolific authors" upsmanship, he's both factual, as on the doomed "Short Race" and "Path of Destruction," and fanciful, as on "0% Finance"'s renovated terraplane and "Cinema"'s scary movie. RZA re-enters rapping on the farewell "Life Is a Movie," in which a wild script takes off from humble facts but runs into trouble in production. B+