The debut album from Wu-Tang affiliate, Killarmy, brought us Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars in the summer of 1997. The album entered the rap world with very little promotion, hype or pre-emptive anticipation. Many critics were not so kind towards the album as most were quick to label the group as a ‘poor man’s Wu-Tang clan’. As for Wu-Tang fans and underground Hip Hop heads alike, this record is heralded as a timeless classic.
Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars is heavily laced with a combat war zone theme, terrorism subject matter, a gritty darkened backdrop of production infused with intelligent street slang from the five-percenter nation and many references to watered-down MC’s famous for weak lyrics and no substance. Killarmy went on to be a well-known Wu-affiliate with memorable guest appearances as well as respectable solo careers from 9th Prince and Dom Pachino.
The album starts off with ‘Dress to Kill’, a warning from the group that they simply came for nothing less than a war with the rap world. As Killa Sin states,
“All rhymes is mad raw n****, metaphors pour from my jaws, lyric sauce got high wit fly sounds bound the floors, it’s war, for all you rap acts whose wack comeback I pack gats and glock four-fifths to be exact like that, strikes to ya knot one shot, I bang slang to ya brain get you open off top, on sum what?? WHAT?? N**** take that and then sum, Sin’s dumb when it comes to tracks and phat drums…”
It’s evident these men did not come to play games or flash designer jewelry in your face.
Keeping the same theme throughout the entire album the production also shines on tracks such as ‘Blood for Blood’, ‘Seems It Never Fails’ and ‘Camouflage Ninjas’. The majority of the beats comes from the group’s producer, 4th Disciple, with the exception of a couple of tracks from the Rza. Replay value throughout this record is displayed on tracks like ‘Swinging Swords’ where a sample of “Swing Batter Swing” by Billie Holiday is turned into an undeniable addictive hook. The sinister mind of 4th Disciple is just as impressive as the aggressive and terrorist threat inspired lyrics which mixes well together to create a superb debut effort.
Since this album is an underground favorite, many can argue that it possesses an acquired taste for rap fans who love deep intriguing thought-provoking lyrics and dark production not geared towards a mainstream audience. Nevertheless, Killarmy is a group that lavishes in its underground and street status and boldly declares that their lyricism is of top-notch stature. This can be shown in one of the album’s singles, ‘Wake up’, where 9th Prince confesses,
“Professional assassinator professor, assassinate ya mindstate and broke the metal plate, lyrical Nostradamus, psychotic mind of Saddam, ex-con, attack the Pentagon, with an unorthodox firearm from Vietnam, I crucify ’em like Muslims murderin’ Jews from Jerusalem, now who’s the Supreme lyricist? You can’t seize this, when I die my name’ll be worshipped like Jesus, war visual individual incriminate the criminal, my culture nickel put holes in ya face like dimples…”
Overall, the militant point of view from this project littered with street tactics, espionage and conspiracy theory rhymes set to the tone of grimm instrumentals makes it easy to find a place in every Hip Hop head’s treasured collection as a Wu-affiliate favorite. For younger fans of the Wu this is a great listen even for today if you’re looking to expand your horizons of intelligent underground yet powerful political lyricism that remains true to giving you wisdom while you nod ya head to the beat. Killarmy’s Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars is an exceptional piece of art that unapologetically screams “Word Life”.