RZA claims the original version of Inspectah Deck’s debut album, lost to a flood in his studio, was one of Wu-Tang’s best solo outings.
In the age of cloud-based backups and instant uploads, it’s hard to imagine how anything could ever be lost for good. But it wasn’t too long ago that some water damage could entirely wipe out your catalog. And no one knows that better than RZA.
In a new interview with The Breakfast Club, the Wu-Tang Clan co-founder recounted the cost of an infamous flood in his basement studio in Staten Island. One of the major losses was the original version of Inspectah Deck‘s debut album, Uncontrolled Substances, which was initially slated to be released in 1995, following solo classics from Raekwon, Method Man, GZA, and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard. And according to The Abbot, Deck’s lost project would have ranked right up there with the rest of the group’s respective solo’s outings. “Every member of Wu get a chance to be the best, I think. And at one point, he was the best. His sword was the sharpest,” RZA says. “If we would of had the production and the vibe of what his album would have been, I’m sure he would have had a classic in the ranks of Cuban Linx and Liquid Swords,” RZA adds.
It wasn’t just Deck’s debut that went under. According to previous interviews with members of the group, the total amount of RZA beats lost to the flood was anywhere between 300 and 500. Uncontrolled Substances was eventually released in 1999 by a crippled Loud Records, which was dropped by BMG somewhere between Deck’s signing in 1995 and the release of what would end up being the version of the album we actually heard.
Watch RZA discuss his infamous studio flood, Inspectah Deck’s lost debut, his role in the creation of Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and more, with The Breakfast Club below.