I think it’s safe to say, 2016 has been fucking weird. From Donald Trump’s winning campaign to grown-ass adults catching Pokemon, there has been no aspect of this year that hasn’t raised an eyebrow and the music world is no different.
So far, this bizarro reality of a year has taken from us (RIP Nicholas “Pumpkin” Alvarado, Bowie, Prince and others) and delivered a plethora of “what in the actual fuck?” moments. In this vein I present to you: Banks & Steelz, one of the strangest, never-would’ve-thought-would-happen-or-work-but-if-Trump-is-winning-anything-is-possible collaborations this year.
Banks & Steelz is none other than Paul Banks of Interpol and RZA. Yeah, straight from the Wu-Tang, aka Prince Rakeem aka Bobby Digital (or did he drop that one?). Now, I’m all for strange collaborations and recently wrote on here about the Claypool Lennon Delirium. Hell, Sam Working’s review of the new Blink 182 even had me check out a few songs (discovered I still can’t stomach them, but I realized this is the territory Skiba wishes he could take Alkaline these days). However, when I first heard about Banks & Steelz, I raised a very doubtful eyebrow.
Oh me of little faith.
My first exposure to their music was driving to Arcata from the Northern Nights Festival. I was still trying to input, decipher and understand what-in-the-hell had just happened the previous weekend when this track came on.
Not only is the music on point with a mix of guitars and electronic beats–the best of both Wu and Interpol–but RZA sounds better than he has in years. After 4 minutes of having my mind blown, the XM DJ mentioned they have already dropped two previous tracks, “Giant” and “Love + War,” so I had to listen.
Holy shit, you guys.
I must admit, RZA is lyrically more on point and spitting fire on these two tracks compared to “Speedway Sonora,” but that doesn’t take away from the fact that all three tracks are bangers. Each will be featured on the forthcoming album, Anything But Words dropping August 26.