Corona Virus, Covid-19, mankind’s latest media thirsty plague. However you want to call it, one thing is certain : it sucks. That thing is out here killing folks, ruining lives, and forcing lifestyle changes. However, believe it or not, a few positive things came out of all this (bear with me guys, my point is coming). Most notably, Instagram Live DJ mixes and battles. We were recently treated to a showdown between DJ Premier and RZA. Essentially, they took turns playing tracks that they produced, and commented on every track. A hip hop fan’s wet dream. Two hundred thousand humans tuned in. The consensus is that it was an epic and one of a kind event. Going down memory lane with Rzarector had me thinking about The Wu, most specifically, Inspectah Deck.
My guys and I have always been of the opinion that a rap song is only as good as its beginning. For many fans, those first couple of lines will determine if the rest of the track will be worth their time. Enter Inspectah Deck. The Rebel INS is a very interesting rapper. He is probably the most low key of The Clan members, yet he is one of its most lethal weapons, a lyrical powerhouse. Wu-Tang Clan’s core members are all solid rappers, so much so that most of them, albeit to varying degrees, have successful solo careers. All of these dudes are bonafide mic wreckers. Taking this into consideration, it should be a nearly impossible task to point one of them out , and declare him the « go to guy ». Well, Deck made sure we’d never have to face that challenge. Here are five reasons why it’s always a good idea to have Inspectah Deck spit first on a track.
Reason #1 : Protect Ya Neck, off Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang.
« I smoke on the mic like Smokin’ Joe Frazier, the hellraiser, raising hell with the flavor… ».
This was Wu-Tang Clan’s first single from their first album. It was the song that introduced them to the world, the song that started it all, the song that changed everything. Who had the gargantuan task of grabbing the world’s attention and keeping it? You guessed it : The Rebel. Twenty seven years later, i think it’s safe to say that the task was successfully completed.
Reason #2 : Assassination Day, off Ghostface Killah’s Ironman.
« I move through the third world my third eye’s the guiding light, invite to fight, we all die tonight… ».
A great song on a phenomenal album. I find that the song didn’t and still doesn’t get the love it deserves. The sound clip from The Usual Suspects at the start and lines like « white lies and blackmail land me back in jail » in the first verse (Deck’s verse), destined this song for greatness. RZA even played it as one of his twenty songs in his showdown against DJ Premier. It wasn’t the best strategic move, but i completely understood.
Reason #3 : For Heaven’s Sake, off Wu-Tang Forever.
« Hey yo my rap style swings like Willie Mays, my style Purple Haze, my solar rays will burn through shades… ». Wu-Tang Forever. The double album. There’s some great stuff on there. For Heaven’s Sake is the third track on the first CD (it should be pointed out that track one is just a speech, not a song), so i put it in the same category as Protect Ya Neck : a chess move.
Reason #4 : Guillotine, off Raekwon’s Only Built For Cuban Linx.
« Poisonous paragraphs smash your phonograph in half it be the Inspectah Deck on the warpath… ».
The online Merriam Webster defines « guillotine » as follows : a machine for beheading by means of a heavy blade that slides down in vertical guides.
I have nothing to add.
Reason #5 : Triumph, off Wu-Tang Forever.
« I bomb atomically, Socrates philosophies and hypotheses can’t define how I be dropping these mockeries, lyrically perform armed robbery… ».
I hate to seem redundant, but I couldn’t help but notice a pattern. Again, Inspectah Deck had the first verse on the group’s first single from its second album. The single was aptly named Triumph, since it is by far Wu-Tang Clan’s greatest single (i’m guessing here, I didn’t actually check numbers), and Deck’s verse is arguably one of the best opening verses in hip hop history.
I can imagine a round table where the Wu members are brainstorming about an upcoming project and when someone asks who should start the lead single no one says anything, but all the heads turn to The Inspectah, because he is just that reliable. He is their « go to guy ».