If the Wu-Tang Clan are a family of rappers, then Killah Priest is just the latest member to break out on his own, if only to make a name for himself apart from the group.
With the release of his debut album on March 10, Heavy Mental, Killah
Priest said he hopes to establish his own identity separate from the Wu-Tang Clan family. "I wanted to bring something different. I don't just want to give them the same thing they're basically gettin' from the Clan. I'm gonna give 'em
a piece of my chamber," said Killah Priest, a.k.a. Walter Reed.
Even though Heavy Mental features guest appearances by various Wu-Tang members and production by RZA and his production protégé 4th Disciple, Killah Priest said he wants to leave his individual mark with a unique lyrical and sonic style, or chamber, as the rapper calls it. The Wu-Tang Clan's first album was subtitled 36 Chambers, a Kung-Fu movie reference, and each solo release by a member of the Wu has seemingly represented another chamber in the group's evolution.
For Killah Priest, his chamber consists of stories that have as much to do with the streets as they do his studies.
In his songs, Killah Priest tells dramatic and complex tales that are
influenced by the things he has extensively studied -- history, geography,
the Bible and life. "I can take myself back to the times of Solomon" and create parables that can help any street kid understand his or her position in life better, he said.
Promising that Heavy Mental's production will be over-the-top, Killah Priest said there will be space noises mixed with melody-driven tunes. Discussing the album's title track, he explained, "It's crazy." Then, imitating what sounded like a Star Trek phaser gun, he added, "It's crazy melodic -- like some new-age space sound."
Heavy Mental will feature vocal guest-appearances by Genius, Inspectah
Deck, Ol' Dirty Bastard and the Sunz of Man, as well as the production of
RZA, 4th Disciple, Wa/kim and John the Baptist -- Genius' cousin. The
songs include "The Profession," "Atoms to Adams," "From Then to Now,"
"Almost There," "Science Project," "Heavy Mental," "Mystic City" and "One
Step" -- the first single.
Though not technically one of the core members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Killah
Priest -- like CappaDonna -- has appeared on a number of songs on Wu-Tang solo albums, such as Genius' Liquid Swords, which was released in 1995.
Since then, he has guested on many other non-Wu related projects,
such as Jon Spencer's Experimental Remixes EP, the upcoming DJ Spooky album, and the soon-to-be-released Sunz of Man album. [Tues., Feb. 3, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]