The long, hard road to being inaugurated into hip-hop’s hall of fame by the culture’s gatekeepers is one better traveled with family. For New York’s Wu-Tang Clan
— the last twenty years have been filled with enough plot twists to write a trilogy of movies, but through it all — the brotherhood amongst its 10 members has always remained intact.
Celebrating their 20th anniversary, the Wu finally settled up and put the finishing touches on their long awaited reunion album, A Better Tomorrow. Scheduled for release on December 2 via Warner Bros, the project marks the 6th official album for the group.
On Monday night (Nov 3), VIBE was invited to Quad Studios in New York City for the first official press listening of A Better Tomorrow. Holding it down for the Shaolin crew, RZA, Masta Killa and U-God were in attendance as we took the historical LP for a listen. Filled with the Wu’s trademark Kung Fu samples, off kilter production, and lyrics. Razor sharp lyrics, folks. The clan came into the game as masters of vocab and are out to prove that their swords contain no rust.
Wu-Tang Clan still ain’t nuthin’ to fuck with it
CLICK THROUGH THE GALLERY TO READ RZA EXPLAIN THE ALBUM IN HIS OWN WORDS
An exclusive preview of ‘A Better Tomorrow.’
“I will say that you will hear some maturity in our thinking process.”
RZA explains that the fellas were trying to write from new perspective on the album.
“It’s a very lyrical album. A lot of stories and vignettes of stories you’ll hear, and I think you’ll get a taste of New York flavor.”
Wu’s maestro says despite the LP being a progressive body of work, they didn’t fall short of delivering that classic Shaolin sound.
“The second song is called “Felt” because we don’t give a fuck how muthafuckas feel anymore.”
The Wu isn’t paying any mind to what anyone has to say about their music on this ride.
“The third song is called “40th Street Black (We Will Fight),” and that’s a song that was named after an old 70’s film,” says RZA. “Also, a song that’s meant to inspire important events or energy. We come together as one — we fight for one.”
The same movies from the group’s childhood are reviisted
“This song was called “Mistaken Identity” — which a lot of our homeboys is locked up in jail for shit they didn’t do, so we wanted to touch upon that.”
The Wu is still addressing social issues affecting the inner cities.
“This album represents the Wu-Tang Clan as a family”
They don’t always see eye to eye, but petty difference are always put to the side for the sake of the group.
“The next part of the albums starts going into a classic Wu-Tang vibe.”
Wu-stans can rest assure.
“We can only hope and work for a better tomorrow, and we hope yall get that.”
The message from the Wu has always been more than surface level.
“I think over the years, I’ve come to realize that the people that you attract or attract you are somewhat part of your family because it’s a mind set — it’s a mindframe.”
As promised, A Better Tomorrow is strictly for the real Wu fans.
“It ended with “Family Reunion” because we feel Wu-Tang comes together — whether it’s us or our fans or people that ever had any inspiration from Wu-Tang — it’s a family reunion.”
Blood in, blood out.