Jamel Ireif (born Elgin Turner) is a East New York, Brooklyn-born emcee, best known to hip-hop heads and Wu-Tang Clan fans as Masta Killa. And although he was the last member to join the original lineup and was initially considered as one of the lesser-known members of the Wu — he was only featured on one track of their seminal debut effort, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) — over the years, he has developed a reputation as being one of the more prolific members of the group, contributing quite a bit on Clan group albums and solo projects since the mid 1990s. Interestingly enough, Masta Killa is also the last original member to go solo but he’s managed to release three critically applauded albums — 2004’s No Said Date, 2006’s Made in Brooklyn and 2012’s Selling My Soul.
Masta Killa’s highly-anticipated fourth full-length album Loyalty Is Royalty is set to drop tomorrow, and the album finds the acclaimed emcee and Wu-Tang member teaming up with an All-Star squad of dos emcees and producers — the album’s first single “Therapy” featured guest spots from Method Man and Redman. The album’s second single “O.G.’s Told Me” featured guest spots from Ram Squad’s MC Boy Backs and Harlem-based Wu-Tang associate Moe Roc on a track that featured the trio showing love to the older heads, who took them under their wings and mentored them with a nostalgia-tinged Dame Grease production featuring a looped sample of staccato key bursts paired with tweeter and woofer rocking beats. The track is a certified banger, but with a truly adult perspective, as it suggests an obvious truth that many of us don’t want to face — time is rushing before us, and suddenly you’ll find yourself being one of those old heads, taking some young, knuckleheaded cat under your wing.
Loyalty is Royalty‘s third and latest single “Down With Me” finds Masta Killa teaming up with the late Sean Price to spit insanely dope bars over a 9th Wonder production featuring twinkling keys, a strutting and swaggering bass line and tweeter and woofer rocking beats. It’s hip-hop how I love it — rugged and raw, with dope emcees spitting bars over enormous boom-bap like beats.