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RZA as Bobby Digital

Digi Snacks (Koch)

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Near the end of Digi Snacks, Wu-Tang mastermind RZA states, "Hip-hop is all about having fun." And the production maestro, chess fanatic, and underrated MC indeed has a fabulous time spitting spastic, marble-mouthed verses on his fourth solo album. But soul-funk group Stone Mecca harshes RZA's buzz with its dank instrumentals, which torpedo his madcap flow and smother the foreground with church-style organs and wood-paneled basslines. On the gloomy "Drama," RZA (working under his Bobby Digital alias) and rapper Monk's back-and-forth is overshadowed by drumrolls and aching piano scales. The plodding, mid-tempo "No Regrets" coasts along on lava-lamp keyboards and snapdragon beat clusters. Think RZA trapped in a basement in 1977 with the world's least-convincing Parliament/Funkadelic cover band. Only the shuffling "Try Ya Ya Ya" gets it right, its heavy snares and dab-dab bass setting the backdrop for RZA's loping, whack-job bravado.

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