November 20, 2021

Mathematics - The Problem (2005)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: NSD-117

© 2005 Nature Sounds
The second solo album by Mathematics features guest appearances from the entire current membership of the Wu-Tang Clan. On a basic level, The Problem is a concept album against black-on-black violence, but there's an admirable restraint here, a relative lack of "can't we all get along?" naïveté and only the bare minimum of preachiness. Instead, songs like "Bullet Scar," "Can I Rise," and "Tommy" are no-punches-pulled rap parables, stories that end badly for everyone involved with a subtle implied moral. Elsewhere, new versions of familiar Wu-Tang tracks like "John 3:16" (featuring Method Man) and "Strawberries & Cream" (a new slower and more effective version of "Strawberry" from Ghostface Killah's 2001 album, Bulletproof Wallets) are enhanced by Mathematics' skillful mix of samples and original riffs, and the '70s-inspired "Two Shots of Henny" echoes back to the party rap vibe of the old days: five MCs passing the mike over a flexible funk beat with the album's most insistently catchy chorus in between. The album is filled with typical Wu-Tang Clan loopiness -- songs are continually interrupted by a sample threateningly intoning "If you got something to say, why don't you just say it?" -- but as one of the first major Wu-Tang-related releases since the sudden death of Ol' Dirty BastardThe Problem shows that the collective's core remains strong.

* Due to past abuse, comments for the Hip-Hop section have been disabled. 

tags: mathematics, the problem, 2005, flac,