RZA - RZA Presents: Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes Music Album Reviews

RZA - RZA Presents: Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes Music Album Reviews
Revisiting his Bobby Digital character in the soundtrack to a forthcoming graphic novel, the typically freewheeling Wu-Tang rapper-producer sounds frustratingly restrained.

As a rapper, RZA has always been most effective as an uncontrollable ambassador from a place few humans would dare venture. His voice is the first you hear on Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the command to “BRING THE MOTHERFUCKING RUCKUS” seemingly a message sent straight from hell; when he barrels onto Ghostface’s “Stroke of Death” (“SMACK THE JAIL BAILS BONDSMAN, STRENGTH OF 18 BRONZEMEN”), you’re left wondering whether terrestrial prisons could even hold him. From behind the boards, the Staten Island icon’s production work can be patient, even subtle. But on the mic he’s usually an unrepentant maximalist. This isn’t limited to group efforts or guest spots: His solo debut, 1998’s Bobby Digital in Stereo, imagined RZA as the titular antihero, riding around in a bulletproof “Digimobile” with guns of cartoon dimensions, nothing but an id to control them.

That character is the subject of the Abbot’s latest project, RZA Presents: Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes, the eight-song soundtrack to a forthcoming graphic novel. But while the title conjures some of the most delightfully harebrained moments of RZA’s catalog, on record he sounds frustratingly restrained: The songs’ over-considered structures leave just enough room for raps that too often stick dutifully to the expected plot beats. Where the best RZA songs messily enjamb his lust, wisdom, and hubris into one another, overlapping them in a way that makes a mockery of familiar syntax, here those elements are meted out so sparingly that they’re almost uniformly dull. That hesitancy, combined with some of his blandest indie-rock dabbling, makes for a record that’s less than the sum of its already spare parts. As RZA raps of Bobby Digital in Pit of Snakes’ first verse, in what could just as easily be a reflection on his own work: “This is just a fraction of his abilities.”

That opening song, “Under the Sun,” features some of the record’s strongest writing—the second verse builds momentum almost entirely through its phonetics; we know it’s growing more urgent when we hear Bobby “attack the shack with a pack of black German Shepherds”—but also typifies the ways the songs undercut their own momentum. The two verses are separated by nearly a minute and a half of mawkish guest vocals nearly indistinguishable from the ones that derail “Trouble Shooting” and “Cowards.” “We see the world grow, change, and decay,” Cody Nierstedt sings on “Under the Sun”; the line’s literality is an insult to a track that casually notes a cyborg’s penchant for slap-boxing kangaroos.

It’s not difficult to imagine a more compellingly fleshed-out version of Pit of Snakes, where the tension hinted at here between the rugged natural world and our safe digital cocoons is explored in more provocative ways. On “Something Going On,” RZA poses a question—“Would you rather have a smartphone, or a smart child?”—that would, in another context, be the beginning of an argument that grew far more absurd; here it is deployed like the punchline to a rote stand-up bit. Each of Bobby Digital’s minor emotional crises is cataloged with a heavy, deliberate hand (“The sky may fall and worlds may shake/Our bond of friendships, I’ll never break”). RZA has often, at least in the 21st century, been criticized as overindulgent, someone who needs to be reined in and edited. Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes is just the opposite: a minor record that would be far more engaging if it better embodied its author’s eccentricity.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
RZA - RZA Presents: Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes Music Album Reviews RZA - RZA Presents: Bobby Digital and the Pit of Snakes Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, August 02, 2022 Rating: 5

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