Here’s an album that surprised me, a live album by Masta Killa. When I was knee deep in Wu-ness, I thought Masta Killa could have been one of the more successful of the bunch, definitely more than U-God. For whatever reason, his camp announced a solo 12″ that never seemed to see the light of day, or was delayed and it got to a point where not much was going right in the world of the Wu-Tang. But Masta Killa has continued to represent in his own way, and Live (Gold Dust Media/!K7) shows what he has become known for.
Simply put, he remains one of the best rappers and writers out there, and on this 16 track album he goes across his history not only as the man who did the last verse in “Da Myster Of Chessboxin'” but also various cameos and of course his own solo material throughout the years. Inspectah Deck and The GZA are also here, along with Streetlife, Prodigal Sunn, and Startel, and together they demonstrate what the Wu-ness was once about. For a live album, it sounds really good too, no one doing any major screaming and both vocals and music are mixed quite nice.
Hip-hop live albums are not plentiful, but considering what could have surfaced (i.e. a bootleg concert in inferior quality), this is a slice of history done right.