Top 5: Wugazi

13 Chambers
Street: 07.13
I hate mash-ups. I hate DJs. I hate dance music in general and the culture that surrounds it. However, I love Fugazi and I love the Wu-Tang Clan. Wugazi was made specifically for people just like me. I was initially disappointed in Wugazi—I thought producers Cecil Otter and Swiss Andy committed a huge blunder by not simply laying various Wu-Tang vocal tracks on top of “Waiting Room” over and over again—but by using some lesser-known Fugazi songs that showcase the band’s slow, weird, tense side, they’ve created an interesting dichotomy with the rough, raw and sometimes cartoonish Wu-Tang vocals. Opening track “Sleep Rules Everything Around Me” is built around Fugazi’s moody piano piece “I’m So Tired,” with vocals from Wu’s “C.R.E.A.M.” laid on top. Raekwon’s fire-spitting vocal track immediately establishes the tense balance between the toughness of the Wu-Tang Clan and the dark (but sometimes delicate) style of Fugazi—a balance further re-enforced by substituting the iconic chorus of “C.R.E.A.M.” with a lilting vocal sample from Ian MacKaye. “Slow Like That” combines Ghostface Killah’s excellent “Back Like That” with “Slo Crostic,” another lesser-known Fugazi track, for one of Wugazi’s most interestingly effective tracks, transforming both songs into a pissed-off, rollicking rocker with a definite sense of weight. “Nowhere to Wait” starts off strong with the noodly weirdness of Fugazi’s “Close Captioned” layered over the creepy vocals of Gravediggaz’ “Nowhere to Run,” but towards the end of the song, when the unmistakable chug and stomp of “Waiting Room” kicks in (finally!), the song fucking explodes. The true strength of Wugazi, though, is that it made me further explore both Fugazi and Wu-Tang Clan’s catalogues—I might not have ever listened to Fugazi’s Instrument or ventured far beyond Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers without it, and it has led me to appreciate both groups even more. But seriously guys, consider using more than 50 seconds of “Waiting Room” next time.
–Ricky Vigil