So, I was on the internet yesterday , scouring for crap and I came upon a thread about a possible new Wu-Tang album. Actually, to be honest, I had seen this thread but ignored it for weeks. Out of sheer boredom I peaked in just to see what was up and saw people debating whether Wu-tang can, in 2014, A)Actually release an album as a group and b)make it good.
Then I tweeted this:
The response was mostly agreement with a few people scattered in who either saw it as a chance to tell me how shitty rappers I work with are (Oh, internet!) or to somehow try and tell me that Wu-tang can do no wrong.
Now, Like I said in the tweet, we all love Wu-tang. I can’t think of any rap fan alive who fully dismisses them and everything they’re accomplished. Aside from some great albums, they’ve had tons of successful and well received solo albums. Some better than others but , still, Wu Tang is legendary status. They’re that level where people either obsessively know their entire catalogue or they’ve never heard an entire album by them but still own a Wu-tang t-shirt cause , well, they’re poser dipshits. The amount of Wu-tang shirts I’v seen in williamsburg, being worn by people I would bet my life have no idea who Cappadonna is, is pretty depressing. That’s when you know you’ve made it. When people just wanna sport your logo cause they think it’s cool. For many people, the music isn’t even the focus anymore.
All that said, their actual fans are nothing if not faithful. Maybe I’m fair weather but I’ve always been a guy who goes album to album with artists. Sure, a misstep here and there happens cause often an artists creativity will not coincide with what I was hoping for. In those cases, I give a pass to the artist and still look forward to their future work. however, in rap music especially, “mailing it in” is typically a sign of an artists creative flames beginning to wane. In the case of Wu-tang, I’d say their decline has been a mixture of things. While there still is an immense amount of talent in the group, they’re more recent work has been hurt by lack of unity, people with egos and, most of all, a lack of focus. Thing is, I can’t really blame them. These are 8/9 dudes well into their 40’s living life. Some have made a lot of money doing music. some have been in jail. The leader, RZA, is clearly more into making movies than he is music and without him to focus everything, it’s an uphill battle for the rest of them (especially with the unreal expectations people place on projects like this). To add to that point, it’s not like the RZA been knocking it out the park the last decade. Really, looking at their roster, you got Ghostface and Raekwon who have made albums worth hearing in the last ten years. That’s it. And, let’s be honest, Raekwon’s good album was a shocking development. After the shit show that was “Immobilarity”, I didn’t see that one coming AT ALL.
O.D.b is gone.
The GZA BEEN mailing it in since his second album.
Masta Killer put out a sneaky good album in 2004 but , since then I had to go to wikipedia to see he had two newer albums than that. I had no idea.
Method man is gonna meth. I dunno if he’s acting or just touring but he was never a great solo artist in my eyes. Great group member though. He’s one of those guys who’s set financially so I don’t think making new music is that crucial to him.
Inspektah deck, who I always felt was the most underrated in the Clan, has seemingly dropped off the planet, only to reemerge to do an album with 7l and Esoteric that I never heard.
U-god…I don’t even know.
And Cappadonna is actually a dude I’d be curious to hear new music from. More so cause he’s a wild card than I think I’d really like it but, still, I’m curious.
So, what’s going to happen when/if these people reunite? Do you really think magic is possible as this point? A few people online were like “But Iron flag as dope!” but was it? Even if it was pretty good, it was still released over 10 years ago. Looking over their post “Wu-tang forever” releases you can see a clear pattern. Every album from “The W” to “8 Diagrams” is basically an unfocused compilation of songs with about 3 or 4 bangers on it. On the bright side, those songs remind us all why we loved Wu in the first place. I can’t front, when I’m listening to a new Wu-tang song where everyone is on is and the beat is actually decent, it gives me a rush. Even hearing a guy like Method man , who I generally don’t give a shit about, popping in after a U-god verse, makes me feel something. Thing is, those moments are few and far between and , once the excitement of “That was so cool to hear again…” wears off, the desire to revisit that song wanes. It’s as if the nostalgia can only carry them so far.
Here’s the thing. I’m not a person who thinks Wu-tang have another great album in them. That said, I’m rooting for them. I think the worst thing anyone as a Wu-tang fan can have right now is expectations. Don’t go back to “36 Chambers” and think “this can be done again” cause it can’t. Different time, different place. different circumstances. Music doesn’t work like that. I mean, shit, you know how many times I’ve been asked “When you gonna make another ‘Music by Cavelight’?”. And I’m me! imagine being the fucking RZA? I’d wanna make movies too. So, I’m curious what you guys think. I’m admittedly a realist with pessimistic leanings so I’m always gonna expect the worst but hope for the best. But, I ask you, Wu-tang faithful, is Wu-tang Forever?
While we’re here, let’s look at some post “Wu-tang Forever” highlights: