In the beginning, there was the Wu. The Wu-Tang Clan separated the light from the darkness, and hip-hop proclaimed it good. Looking upon their creation, Wu-Tang created rap heaven on earth, and at this point Killah Priest fell from the skies to land in Brooklyn. Living under the alias Walter Reed, Priest first found his way to RZA, and made his introduction to their hip-hop world on “Diary of a Madman” by the Gravediggaz – and it was good. Soon the fallen angel was a full-fledged disciple of the Wu appearing on albums by GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Sunz of Man, and soon enough he was releasing a solo CD called “Heavy Mental.” Wu-Tang Clan members returned the favor by producing and appearing on his official debut, and it was good… only it wasn’t ALL good.
“Y’all wanna see the lifetimes of the greatest?
Wanna see what I write in the pages?
Wanna see right before I’m famous?
Wanna hear the light from your favorite?
Y’all wanna hear who I influenced;
discography of all of my music
Pro-God, call it a movement
On the stage with the RZA to the Gravediggaz
GZA used to say I was his favorite spitter
Lyrics somehow made pictures
Though I never really wanted it
Still they put mad challenges in front of the kid”
Heaven on earth cracked wide open, the fallen son fell from grace a second time, and numerous new Wu-Tang disciples stepped in to take his place. Killah Priest looked at his mentors and their creation, declared HIMSELFgood, and went on to a prolific career of solo albums and group projects entirely under his own direction. On “Priest History” from “The 3 Day Theory,” KP outlines this entire evolution, though in a rarity for him this review may have made it more biblical than he does himself. While the opening paragraph mixed facts with the fantastical in equal measure, it’s exactly what one expects from Priest’s catalogue, as he cloaks himself in mystery and religious prophesy while still spitting bars that intrigue hip-hop fans globally. Even the title of his new project is a mystery, as it may at first remind fans of Tupac Shakur’s similarly titled “7 Day Theory,” but Shakur himself was making a biblical allusion and rapping under an alter ego named after a famous Italian strategist.
It may be that KP’s point is he’s now the creator of his own world. Having come full circle, he shows respect to his Wu origins (and Cappadonna even cameos on “Betrayl”) but stands alone as much or than ever before. On the first day, Priest inked a deal with Man Bites Dog Records to distribute this album. On the second day he brought in Kount Fif to produce his entire album, whom he previously worked with on the now classic track “Gun for Gun” featuring Nas. On the third day Priest laid down his verses, looked upon his creation, and HEdeclared it good. Priest doesn’t record for the Wu, for the fans, for the critics or for the money any more. He’s reached a point after 15 years where he’s simply doing what he wants, the God of his own creation, making entire worlds with each album that he releases and finding satisfaction in spitting bars with his dusty cigarette laced voice. In Priest’s own words:
“Brolic, plus I can spit that knowledge
I am.. God, plus I’m always about it
Who you know who can flow with wordplay, take a survey
No matter what you herbs say, it’ll still be Priest
The masterpiece you rappers geek
out over this nigga flow, gorilla
You know Killah, got a masterful classical
rap that’s food for thought
Too much salt is high blood pressure, check the Sun lecture
It gets dirty as them mud wrestlers, y’knahmean?”
KP is one of those cult favorite hip-hop artists that’s unintentionally incredibly divisive – you’re either in his cult or you’re not. You either think his on-and-off verbally pugilistic flow and gritty voice is choice or you think he’s incredibly overrated and hides behind a religious fog hoping to seem profound and intellectual when he’s monotone and doesn’t make any tracks that will ever reach radio or video. What we have here on “The 3 Day Theory” is a purified and distilled version of everything that people both love and hate about him. Kount Fif is consistently excellent on the boards, which allows Priest to “spit revolutionary” on tracks like “Fire Reign” featuring Copywrite and Jakki Da Motomouth without being outshined by his guests. There are no shortage of guests either – Canibus on “Democracy,” Sabac Red and Ill Bill on “Psalm of Satan,” The Last Emperor and 2mex on “Circles,” and even Sonny Seeza from Onyx shows up on “The Destroyer.” Still on epic five minute tracks like “Outer Body Experience” it’s all about the mystery, magic and mythology KP can weave into a track. To bottom line this review, if you’re in his cult then you’ll want to step into the world he creates on “The 3 Day Theory” and if you’re not then you probably won’t be aware this disc even exists.