I told you, my vast and loyal readership, that I would post a review of RZA as Bobby Digital’s third disc, Digi Snacks, yesterday. Alas, I was unable to make this self-imposed deadline because I was too busy tanning. You’ll be encouraged to know, however, that I am now in possession of a robust bronze gleam, so all was not in vain.
On to business.
I’ve always enjoyed the oddity of RZA’s futuristic character/alter-ego Bobby Digital, as he provides sustenance to those of us who can’t help but be dismayed by all of these oh-so-serious MCs juiced on their own self-importance. (Lil’ Wayne, despite his PhD in Oddball, is nevertheless the latest such example, what with all that “I’m the greatest” crap. Pipe down, youngin’. You still got a ways to go.) Sure, he still brags, berates, and threatens “analog niggas” on his latest, never once stopping to think about their fragile feelings, but it’s so playful--so out there--that one forgives him his trespasses. Indeed, Bobby’s loopy originality should serve as a comforting pat on the back to the many suckers he turns into roadkill while tooling around in his CGI-enhanced flying car.
Unfortunately, Bobby’s car runs out of gas (or whatever it is they're powering vehicles with in the future; you know it ain’t gonna be oil) more than a few times here. The whole thing feels a little lazy, as if he fell asleep at the wheel. I say “as if” because RZA isn’t a slack-ass churning out records at Master P-type levels just to score a buck or two. He doesn’t treat art-making like crack-dealing. But there’s something missing on some of the cuts, and, thus, something missing in the whole.
Rather than hop in my earth-mover and try to dig up the missing pieces, I’ve decided to give you brief impressions of each song, excluding track 14, which I wasn’t given by the PR rep, a small oversight a commenter on my previous post on Wax Poetics magazine says is no biggie; he/she implies the song isn’t all that good. And, despite that I sometimes take for granted my readership by indulging in solar-centric cosmetic enhancements instead of typing, I do trust ‘em.
1) “Digi Snacks Intro”: Magic potion turns RZA into Bobby Digital, illustrating the “dangers and benefits of drugs,” as Bobby doesn’t always behave himself. Nice preamble. Recalls the opening of Liquid Swords.
2) “Long Time Coming”: A little on the goofy side--Bobby sounds like he’s melting in the shower--but the chorus is sufficiently haunting to keep it from completely failing.
3) “You Can’t Stop Me Now”: ODB’s wailing cum singing introduces this, the second best song on the album
4) “Straight Up the Block”: Bobby raps in slow-motion, his voice a low rumble. Then he starts in with the French, and I get lost. Weird.
5) “Booby Trap”: “When I was young/I slept with a battery on my tongue,” raps Bobby. Better.
6) “Tray Y Ya Ya”: Women in pain/pleasure lament ambiguously. Rattlesnake beat. Even better.
7) “Good Night”: Lullaby for the sexed-up and disturbed. Bobby plays the pornstar. Faint echoes of “The Whistle” from RZA’s Birth of a Prince meets that whistling song from Kill Bill.
8) “No Regrets”: Adjectives that come to mind: interstellar, hallucinatory, emotionally-crippled, minimal, insidious, and, finally, good.
9) “Money Don’t Own Me”: A blues-y, mournful complaint glues together a jam-band of competing sounds that don’t come undone but never quite fully stick.
10) “Creep”: Gunshots and a voodoo-like refrain of hollow wood contribute to this atmospheric goth symphony.
11) “Drama”: Skip this.
12) “Up Again”: Skip this, too.
13) “Put Your Guns Down”: Cacophonous diary of a mad man in a mad world. Not much to recommend.
14) No corpus delicti, no investigation.
15) “O Day”: Bobby announces that “hiphop is all about having fun,” and so he does--and so do we.
16) “Don’t Be Afraid To…”: The best song on the album. Sounds like the Roswell saucer landed on the orchestra. I re-played it three times in a row.
Addendum: According to Pitchfork and Filter-Mag.com, there are only 15 tracks on Digi Snacks. We report, you decide.