If you try to peruse the web for information about King Just, you find a phenomenon a podcast co-host has referred to as “delinked.” Some sites refer to him as a Wu-Tang affiliate, but when you follow their links his name isn’t there. I dug deeper though and made a startling discovery – proof of his affiliation led straight back to me. I had no desire to be a primary source for this fact, but so few people took notice of U-God’s fledgling Hillside Scramblers crew that RapReviews became the only place to cover it. I’m afraid covering Just’s solo album “Mystics of the God” from 1995 may unintentionally have the same effect.
The existence of the “Warrior’s Drum” music video proves there was at least an attempt to market King Just to rap fans, even if it only lasted for a cup of coffee. I know that I considered him a Wu-affiliate even before the Hillside Scramblers though, and not just because of his references to Shaolin (Staten Island). You don’t have to look any further than the “Wu-Chronicles” compilations to find King Just flowing with Method Man, and as recently as 2010 you can find him on a record from the Wu Music Group. Whether or not he’s “linked” his status as part of Wu’s familia is assured. Does that make “Mystics of the God” essential for a Wu-Tang fan though?
There are some surprises here and there. “Boom Bow!” is laced by E-Swift from Tha Alkaholiks. The song has King Just railing against weak emcees and vowing to land a “body blow talking shit without a video.” That was probably necessary given the minimal traction the album got. “No Flow on the Rodeo” is even better though and derives its pure boom bap sound from Easy Mo Bee’s skills on the boards. The lyrics? Well they’re a bit sus. “The reason, I’m the shit cause I’m stinkin/Y’all niggaz is dead like Abe Lincoln” and “Tryin to battle me is like tryin to drown Aquaman” are just barely passable. It’s possible he meant to be funny but he delivers these punchlines like he’s serious, which makes them just a bit cringe-y. “I’m butter like a biscuit” may be the worst offender of all.
“Mystics of the God” suffers from a plethora of banal tracks from a fairly average rapper who inexplicably declared himself the arbiter of what’s real. “Oh why, must you test the best of this rap profess/and guess that I would settle for less.” It’s good that King Just has standards, but on the same track (“Hassan Chop”) he declares that his style is “strictly for the block … especially if you drink beer and smoke marijuana.” Where did those standards go? He professes to elevate rap and then falls back to the lowest common denominators — drinking, smoking and “keeping it real” without even defining what that “reality” is. “Was it the fame, that made me insane in the brain?” We’re throwing around the word “fame” very loosely here.
When he works with the right producers like E-Swift on “Pain” a hint of his potential comes through. Perhaps inspiring instrumentals make King try just a little bit harder. Otherwise you’re left with mediocre tracks like “Leave Now” laced by Victor Flowers that includes a guest emcee openly admitting he’s “a meth abuser.” Not a good look. Ultimately though it’s King Just who undermines his songs the most with cornball bars like “A lot of you rappers are +Daffy+ so you better +Duck+.” That was trash in ’95 and still is today. I’m not saying Just deserves his “delinked” status because of it though. Being average at best doesn’t mean he isn’t a true Wu affiliate or that “Mystics of the God” isn’t a part of their legacy — it just means that you shouldn’t go out of your way to add this one to your catalogue first.