It's a mixed blessing to hear a forlorn soul loop as the backing for "Spinning Wheel," the opening track from Wu-affiliate 7th 7ign's (Sign's) debut record, 7th Hour. On one hand, for an old Wu head like myself, it's a refreshing bit of nostalgia. On the other hand, there's always the chance that new-school hip-hoppers will accuse him of trying in vain to recapture the Wu's glory days.
To be sure, 7th Hour isn't going to surpass Enter the 36 Chambers on your top-albums list, but neither is it simply a throwaway Wu-crew record. 7th 7ign has a commanding vocal presence, creating interesting, slightly-cryptic verses, without descending into the massively-obscure arena that Killah Priest permanently occupies. And the production settles nicely between RZA's baroque, tortured soul and the muddy, lo-fi sound of the Killa Bees compilation records.
In particular, tracks like "Everyman Bleeds," "This is War" and "Spinning Wheel" stand out as promising examples of where 7th 7ign can go when he wants:
"The wheel starts spinning/The end is the beginning/Constant motivation my world's in rotation/My fam comes first/React you get hurt/'Cause the first shall be last and the last shall be first."
That's some old-school Wu shit right there, and it's always welcome in my record collection.