Those who purchase Mathematics Presents Wu-Tang Clan & Friends: Unreleased expecting a heavy dose of Wu Tang will be dissatisfied. The project is saturated with the friends, but appearances from actual Wu Tang members are few and far between.

DJ Allah Mathematics, the producer of many of the Wu-Tang Clan’s hits, has compiled a disc full of remixes and previously unreleased material.

Given Mathematics’s reputation, there are high expectations. And while he doesn’t entirely disappoint, the production is palpably inconsistent throughout the album.

But it’s not the production that prevents Unreleased from reaching its full potential. It’s the lack of Wu-Tang rappers. Of the 20 tracks, only seven feature any of the original nine members of the Clan, and only three of those feature more than one on the same song.

It’s too bad, because the Wu-Tang tracks are, unsurprisingly, the best on the album. Raekwon spits street tales over simple keys on “Treez” and joins Inspectah Deck on the dark “Rap Burglars.” But a few true Wu songs aren’t enough to elevate the album from mediocrity. The (misleading) title aside, you can make a strong argument that this shouldn’t even be considered a Wu-Tang project.

Mathematics’ remixes are hit or miss. Some don’t improve on the originals, like “Maxine (Remix),” which replaces the grit of the original with a light guitar that clashes with Ghostface’s delivery. The funky horns on “Wu Banga (Remix)” don’t compare to the piano-driven soul sample used on the original. “Da ‘N’ (Remix),s” though, has a laidback vibe and is a pleasant take on a classic Wu track.

With the first group album since 2001 expected to be released this summer, Unreleased could have been a great preparatory project. Instead, the few bright spots are overshadowed by the glaring lack of Wu-Tang members.

Various Artists
Mathematics Presents Wu-Tang Clan & Friends: Unreleased
Nature

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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