RZA Tells the Tale of “Bobby Digital & the Pit of Snakes” (EP Review)
This is the 5th EP from New York emcee, producer, actor & filmmaker RZA. Widely known as the de facto leader of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan, he was actually the 2nd & last person of the group following GZA to come out with a solo effort before their full-length debut Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers by dropping his debut EP Ooh I Love You Rakeem under Tommy Boy Records just 5 months after The Genius put out his full-length debut Words from the Genius under Cold Chillin’ Records. The Abbott eventually put out his own debut album Bobby Digital in Stereo in the fall of ‘98, which I personally think gets criminally overlooked because people were expecting The Cure & I think it’s safe to say it’s never seeing the light of day at this point. Digital Bullet was a worthy sequel too, but I can’t say the same for Birth of a Prince or Digi Snax. He returned from a 14 year hiatus back in March to drop the DJ Scratch-produced Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater & I still maintain that it’s RZA’s best solo effort since Digital Bullet even though the overall reception was mixed, so I was definitely curious to hear how Bobby Digital & the Pit of Snakes would play out especially since he’s back on the boards for the whole thing also.
“Under the Sun” is a guitar-driven opener talking about how we are all 1 whereas “Trouble Shooting” mixes boom bap & rock to confess that trouble keeps finding him. “Something Going On” has a grander tone to the instrumental as RZA talks about not wanting to die alone just before “We Push” works in some pianos to remind everyone that there’s more to the story.
The track “Cowards” brings back the rock influences which is nice except that the singing throughout is absolutely God awful while the penultimate song “Fight to Win” shoots for a more solemn aesthetic striving for victory. And prior to the “Live Your Own Rhythm” outro, “Celebrate Life” finishes the EP with a colorful ballad about commemorating our time here on planet Earth.
Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater might be a tad bit better in my personal opinion, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Bobby Digital & the Pit of Snakes for what it is because RZA really did drop 2 great EPs back-to-back. The whole concept of him figuring out the nature of his reality & himself is well thought out with him continuing to evolve as a producer & actually suiting him compared to the Wu sounding like they didn’t fit over a majority of the beats that he cooked up for the Clan’s last 2 group albums 8 Diagrams & A Better Tomorrow.