Monday, May 21, 2012

Master Fuol's Secret Samurai Clique

You remember Master Fuol, right? He's that guy from all of Thirstin Howl's releases with the crazy flow. Howl had a lot of guys on his record from his Lo-Life gang, but Fuol was the one guy who didn't fit in with the Ralph Lauren gimmick, and the one guy who could really hold his own against Howl, spitting wild, tongue-twisting, punch-line packed lines. "Frogstyle Meets Drunk Fist," "Keep Cluckin'," "Spit Boxers," etc. Then he started hanging around with ODB and became one of the many Wu-Tang Junior Affiliate Friend Associates.  The guy we always wanted to release his solo album, but for some reason never did. Eventually, in 2002, he put out a very indie solo album on Howl's label, but he never really came out like he should've; and he seemed to just completely fall off the map when ODB passed.

At least, I thought he did.  It turns out I totally slept on a 2010 comeback, where Master Fuol brought out a whole new crew called The Fortyseven and released a full-length album called The Day the Sun Bled. The name of the crew is a reference to a legend where leader of samurai was forced to commit seppuku (suicide), and his forty-seven samurai soldiers killed the politician who ordered their leader dead. Then they all committed seppuku themselves for the revenge murder they committed. It's one of those maybe true but probably greatly embellished stories told to illustrate how super loyal and dedicated to their code the samurai are. Supposedly, Keanu Reeves is going to star in a movie about it next year, because nobody screams "authentic historical, Japanese samurai" like Keanu Reeves. Anyway, for the most part the crew just rap as themselves, or some sort of generic "we're hardcore killer samurai tough guy" stuff; but they do actually have a song detailing the events of the tale, which is... actually, not one of the better songs, but it's something different anyway.

There's not a lot different about this album. It's quite long, and essentially unchanging. It's 15 songs and an intro (cut up by Jabba tha Kut). The only guest is a guy named Obtuse on the very last song. Every song pretty much consists of hardcore or clever punchline rhymes over rough, Wu-inspired beats. You can just imagine a major label A&R screaming for club tracks, a love song, a Southern song, variety, variety, variety! Even the Wu have adopted this policy, which is one of the appeals of their junior crews like Killarmy - at least their won't be any crossover stuff on these albums. This is nothing but the pure, rough stuff. And for the most part that's a good thing, though the songs do have a habit of all running together, especially considering the length. You'll hear a line or verse you really like, and then won't be able to find out which song it was on later. But, hey, as long as you keep hearing lines and verses you like, what's to complain?

Fuol is easily the strongest MC on here. Though most of them have also established themselves outside The FortySeven, I'm not really familiar with most of the others (Hochii, Monk Liverfish, DJ Illnaughty, and Swiss Precise, who I actually have heard on another project or two, as one of the HalfwayHouse MCees); so it's hard to say who's better between the rest - one guy seems a bit cornier than his mates - but they all carry their own weight, at least, until Fuol can return and steal the show. It's like Fuol needs an injection of self-confidence; he never comes out unless he's playing support for somebody else... Howl, ODB, FortySeven. The man is easily strong enough to carry his own series of albums and singles.

But regardless, this is a nice album. There's no big, stand-out singles or anything. Just a solid, hardcore hip-hop album, through and through. The kind of thing that's becoming increasingly rare these days. And it's really good to hear Master Fuol again.

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