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Crazy. How it seems like nobody’s ever heard this. The most criminally slept on diss records of all time. Dropped back in 2008. Back when Wu-Tang member Gza/Genius was having “beef” with G-Unit giant 50 Cent. 50 had size to his advantage, having sold millions of records, being a ginormous success, his fortune then rivaling Diddy’s and Jay’s. It wasn’t a fair fight if you counted power. But lyrically, on paper, 50 never had a chance against one of the Clan’s most sharpest swords.

You ever see someone who roll with Mayweather, rhyme like Ricky Hatton
Smash whatever you throw, 1000 is what I’m battin’
Got a few hooks but no jabs
Took ‘em out your corndog books and notepads
I get it, you Got Rich robbin’ those in the industry
Bite off this one, steal from your enemy
Never try to play the hottest one out your camp
He might step off and take half the juice from your amp

Released independently on the ‘Pro Tools’ album in August, 2008, Gza’s 6th studio album may have been one of his best. But for whatever reasons, a different, younger and uncaring audience, little to no promotion, this album flew way below radar, having sold only 9,000 copies during it’s first week of release. Me myself only heard it by accident, after a friend told me in passing, about how solid the cd was. During this time, 5o was making comments, discrediting Gza as being a rap “scientist”, too technical and rapping about shit nobody understood or cared about.

Enough to make you Vogue on the cover of GQ
Only missin’ the sheer blouse. Homie, you see-through
Stop sippin’ on that Formula 50
They want heat, I’ll give it to them burnt and crispy
Rhymes too short to box with God, so stretch it
Especially these overrated rap steppin fetchers
I told you if I rain, there’ll be an eternal drizzle
Woodwork strips being chipped with sharp chisels.
One verse shatter your spine and crush your spirit
No matter what, you still Window Shop for lyrics
If you’s a pimp, put chicks on a stroll
And if those your soldiers, give ‘em bigger guns to hold
Who Shot Ya?

Fif went on to claim that Gza was an “Alaskan”, meaning that his buzz was not hot, but way too cold. His disses were hilarious, and the peanut gallery brought into it. What made matters worse was how no deejay seemed to play ‘Paper Plate’. I doubt even the legendary Drama King Kay Slay even played the record on any mixtape of during his ‘Drama Hour’ radio show on New York City’s famed Hot 97 radio station. Gza lost the battle only because his voice was completely ignored by an industry and an unconcerned public.

You don’t have enough on your roster
You move like a Fed, but you talk like a mobster
That Yayo slangin, please abort it
Too many cuts on it, cokeheads they won’t snort it
Spray the Flea-Unit with pesticides
You can get your best ghostwriters, get them all to testify
Have you ever been stung by a thousand hornets?
Five hundred killa bees, buzzin’ and really on it
Whipped with CUBAN LINX, cut with LIQUID SWORDS
Choked by IRONMAN ’til we crush your vocal cords.

Which is a damned shame. ‘Paper Plate’ was a sharp, sparse diss record with the wordsmith sending out some of the most accurate darts ever fired upon a subject; clean, aimed with surgeon-like precision, Gza’s words were deadly. Had the record been propelled to a platform similar to the Jay-Z/Nas “Takeover”/ “Ether” beef, 50 might not have been able to survive, that’s how fatal “Paper Plate” was potentially, how deadly it could have been.

You ain’t nothin’ but a pig in a blanket
Hogshead, the deadliest food at the banquet.
All this rap crap that’s trapped in your colon
Only means, get rid of the wack sh– ya holdin’
Sweet-tooth dudes stay out the Candyshop
You ain’t gotta handcuff ‘em to see the panties drop
A few cats is lookin’ for a rat with cheese
Got somethin’ to pitch? They all swing a bat with ease
Get your ankles broke while doin’ your two-step
Leave a Thank-You note for the crutches the Wu left
Proactive rap, you know they put drug in the cream
You hallucinate, see Kanye in your dream

I’m thinking even, that with all the pull and power that Curtis has, maybe it was possible that he used his finanicial advantage to kill the record, have the deejays that mattered sweep it under the rug. Not flowing on a conspiracy theory, but anything is possible, and upon hearing the record over and over, I KNOW for sure Fif didn’t want the world to hear the heat his “Alaskan” foe was cooking with. I mean, had the record had the opportunity to have Funk Master Flex drop bombs to it (and this record is most definitely bomb worthy), who knows what might have happened. Think about it, a full blown battle with Gza would possibly lead to a contest with other Wu-Tang members. Method Man. Raekwon. Ghost Faced Killah. Nah. 50 didn’t want that. Now at the time of writing, I’m not trying to re-ignite or instigate anything. I’m just bringing to light how dope of a diss song ‘Paper Plate’ was. Is. If I had to put a title on it, I’d have to call it THE most criminally slept on diss record of all time. And that’s not good, because the record was that good.

And yo, I don’t smoke dust; I dust off Smokey and the Bandits
With the brush stroke off the canvas
I walk on your Gators and lizards,
Raise the lynx that was killed for your minx, you be rockin’ in Blizzards
Wanna be cock (diesel)’til you walk the D-Block
To get a transfer, I’ll spread your wings like Peacocks
I was an emcee while you was in Nutville
On a world tour, you was gettin’ your guts spilled
Ten years your senior but I flow like I’m twenty-one
Straight out Medina with a mass of many sons
Super nova give off gamma-ray bursts
And I’ll finish this, only ’cause I let off first
WASSUP?!?

‘Paper Plate” was one of Hip Hip beefs more finer moments. But in real life, it wasn’t. Still, if you like beef like I do, you owe it to yourself to find this gem, cop it and add it to your collection. And when you do, thank me.

  • http://twitter.com/Babygrande Babygrande Records

    Great post CJ. As you know we released that classic known as “Protools” But there are some things that need to pointed out here. Unfortunately Im on the run today so I can't write as much as I would like to so here are some bullet points to chew on:

    1. You should check out GZA's recent interview with HHDX. Here is a piece:

    DX: Lesson learned. I wanted to talk music while I have you for a few minutes. Honestly, I think that Protools kind of set it off, as far as this level of quality and this renaissance we've seen in Wu-Tang, from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. II, Dopium, Wu Massacre, and now these albums from Rae, Meth and Ghost, as well as Inspectah Deck and Masta Killa. How have these last two years been for you.

    GZA: I think it's a great thing. [Wu-Tang Clan] has been around for years, and we definitely put our work in. [Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt. II] is great. I think it's a compliment for you to say that, about Protools. I really put a lot of work – time and effort into it. The whole [Babygrande Records] deal started off as being a compilation album, because the money wasn't really great or anything. But I had a cool relationship with [Babygrande CEO] Chuck [Wilson]. It was supposed to be a “GZA Presents…” It took me a while to give them this album, it took several years. As time went on, I was doing certain songs. I was just gonna grab up a bunch of brothers and put some new brothers on it. Then I thought about it, I can't really just be throwin' anything out – I don't care what it is. Then the album started to become more and more developed as time went on – as far as the ideas and the thoughts. [Despite the planning], I recorded that album in maybe four days. Last minute, crunch time.

    Whats important here is that THE ENTIRE ALBUM WAS MADE IN FOUR DAYS and was literally flown to the manufacturing plant.

    2. You may say that there was little to no promotion but “Protools” sold almost DOUBLE what GZA's previous release (GZA/DJ MUGGS “Grandmasters”) sold in its first week at 5,793 copies.

    3. Its really ironic that “Paper Plates” actually premiered on iHipHop and to date has over 450,000 views on this site alone. Its important to remember at the time came out people were not jumping in line to diss 50 Cent — you have written yourself about what it means to have beef with 50 Cent.

    4. Its not fair to use radio as a barometer of the impact that this track had. For one I know that radio didnt want to step in the middle of a beef with 50. No way in hell would drop bombs on a GZA diss at 50. Jay-z yes but not GZA. I know for a fact that somebody was throwing their weight around because lets just say GZA was not welcome at a certain radio station.

    This is a classic diss record and the people that needed to hear it heard it. I think what is most remarkable about this diss is GZA's timing. Remember 50 and GZA had exchanged words previously and there was already a pre-existing beef between G-Unit and Ghostface. GZA waited until after that whole 50 Cent Kanye fiasco and then struck 50 when he really was at the weakest point anyone had ever seen him in his entire career at that time. GZA, a master chess player, knew exactly what he was doing and after waiting for “Protools” to be turned in for over three years we were very grateful for free awareness that track brought to our six figure marketing campaign.

  • Willis Still Sunsweet, WWIB

    GZA is a fascinating guy– as a fan, I've taken some shots at him for his lack of mic presence but when he's on…

    I hope the recent embarrassment he suffered being dead-ass drunk on stage at SXSW is a lesson that doesn't need repeating.

    I understand the dynamic of GZA's art, laid back flow + many lyrical darts but sometimes on “Pro Tools” I think he just sounds ** sleepy **. Kids make it aw, lay off, he's old but come on, it ain't that!

    Listen to GZA's verse on Wu Tang “Stick Me For My Riches” and you can hear the difference when he wakes up.

    Also:

    1) rappers should NOT put their kids on albums until they're ready; it's just bad for everyone.

    2) I thought the very title “Pro Tools” was wack. Why advertise some dopey computer program like that when you have a world of observation/idea to draw from?

    That said, “Pro Tools” is a solid 8/10, a step behind the slept-on GZA/Muggs collab, “Grandmasters.”

    CJ versus GZA in chess, let's go!