During the Wu-Tang Clan's prime, most of the group's members enjoyed successful solo outings. But times have changed since then, mostly for the worse: Ol' Dirty Bastard is dead, Method Man and Raekwon are no longer the draws they once were, and recent discs by the RZA and Inspectah Deck failed to break the bank. That's bad news for Gary Grice, better known as GZA. His 1995 platter Liquid Swords went platinum, but his latest, Pro Tools, is hitting the marketplace with zero hoopla — and it's unlikely to receive the sort of well-deserved critical acclaim that buoyed recent CDs by Ghostface Killah. A few tracks work pretty well, including "Pencil," co-starring the RZA and another Wu-Tanger, Masta Killa. Overall, though, the disc's production suggests a less persuasive variation on the aural gloom the Wu crew established during the previous decade. And if he's not looking to the future, he needs to at least keep pace with the past.


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