Release Date: Mar 23, 2010
Record label: Traffic
One of the original Wu-Tang workhorses, Inspectah Deck has remained one of the group's most consistent and capable lyricists. And while the solo success achieved by a Method Man or a Ghostface has eluded him, on his fourth LP, Manifesto, Deck shows he isn't ready to abandon the tried and true approach that's brought him this far. After trying out a rapid-fire quasi-Dirty South flow on "Tombstone Intro" (which he reprises in a later interlude), the Rebel INS is quickly back to his old self by track two, "The Champion," delivering a plethora of ghetto images with signature brute force ("I stream machine gun funk, trunk-slayer/Major pain game-hunter") over a haunting Alchemist slow-burner.
Inspectah Deck was never the most commercially viable member of the Wu-Tang Clan, and 1999's Uncontrolled Substance certainly wasn't a five-mic classic. But during a worrisome stretch for the Wu-Tang Clan that year, he seemed among the most likely to survive and even thrive if the Clan ceased to exist as a functioning group. Largely self-produced and forgoing any A-listers (U-God doesn't count), the album harbored no delusions about what it was meant to provide-- Deck ripping through one simile-laden verse after another with beats that stayed out his way.
It’s a shame that, having snapped some of Wu-Tang’s most memorable stanzas, Inspectah Deck still operates in the shadow of his colossal Clansmen. With his searing opener on “Triumph” and scene-stealing contributions to “Protect Ya Neck” and “C.R.E.A.M.,” as well as a hatful of phenomenal cameos on his Wu brethren’s solo efforts, Deck became renowned for his tongue-in-cheek namedropping, his elaborate wordplay, and lucid flow. But for all his talent as an emcee, his standalone releases have been met with lukewarm critical response and ice-cold commercial reception, including 1999’s criminally undervalued Uncontrolled Substance.