The Man With the Iron Fists Soundtrack

Stand-out Tracks: White Dress, Six Directions of Boxing



Samurai showdowns. Over-the-top kung-fu battles. B-movie flair. A man with iron fists. The Man With The Iron Fists, the directorial debut of acclaimed rapper and producer the RZA, promises all of these and more. But another aspect of the movie’s production has also shines bright, even though it is not necessarily a large part of the film itself. For the soundtrack, the RZA has called forth various friends and collaborators, both new and old, to contribute to what may end up being the best component of this action-packed movie.

The opening track, “The Baddest Man Alive,” is a well-working collaboration that sets the stage for the rest of the soundtrack. Black Keys-style fuzzed-out guitars and distorted vocals frame the song, while the RZA maintains the overall theme of the album. RZA raps boastful declarations that refer to his role in the film, Blacksmith: “I snatch food from the mouth of a tiger/Take a gasoline bath and I walk through fire.”

The rest of the soundtrack is composed of similar collaborations, ranging from old-school, roughly-stylized group tracks to soulful solo sessions. Not rushed or crowded, the team-ups include Talib Kweli and RES, Method Man and StreetLife and those artists packed onto “Tick Tock,” including Pusha T, Raekwon, Joell Ortiz and Danny Brown.

The more soulful tracks star Mable John, Corrine Bailey Rae and a surprisingly spirited Kanye West, whose “White Dress” recalls his College Dropout days in terms of style, lyricism and an ambition that was missing from his appearances on this year’s Cruel Summer.

Perhaps the strongest songs on the album are the ones where the RZA’s old crew, the world-renown Wu-Tang Clan, take lead:. The two headliners, “Rivers of Blood” and “Six Directions of Boxing,” blaze with a brash combination of emotion and confidence that has been missing from the airwaves ever since the group went on an indefinite hiatus. Needless to say, it is nice to see them back together.

Even with the various collaborations and different track deliveries, the entire soundtrack is a fantastic piece of work that operates well on multiple levels. Most importantly, it stands alone as an accomplishment that can be enjoyed with or without the movie. One of the best hip hop albums of the year.