It’s been 3 years since the release of A Better Tomorrow, the rather so-so comeback for the Wu-Tang Clan. Now they return delivering an 18-track epic featuring a litany of Wu Tan collaborators, new and old.
Opening track ‘Lesson Learn’d’ offers a bar in reference to infamous pharma-bro Martin Shkreli, the man who made the news when he reportedly purchased the last Wu Tang album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for $2 million dollars. It’s a solid song that features Redman and Inspectah Deck at their most ferocious.
‘Why Why Why’ featuring RZA and Swnkah is a fresh change of tone for the album. With reggae inspired beats and Swnkah’s patois there’s a looseness to the tracks flow that contrasts the rigidity of RZA’s lyrical flow. Following the plight of the oppressed and the strict dichotomy between rich and poor it holds true to its message without being diluted.
Another highlight for the album is ‘If What You Say Is True’. The track features the whole group with featuring Streetlife. It sounds like the Clan at their prime. There’s a pulsing beat that unifies all vocal contributions without diluting the flow as well as their trademark usage of samples from Kung Fu movies. It’s pure Wu-Tang, sounding as timeless as any of their material from Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
‘Hood Go Bang’ is shorter that most tracks found on The Saga Continues and in my opinion sounds like the group adapting to a newer generation of hip-hop. With sampling and hi hats that resemble something you would find on a Kendrick Lamar album, yet it works. The lyrics are still rooted in the traditions of Redman and Method Man.
As with previous Wu-Tang albums, there are skits galore dispersed throughout yet they largely fall flat. It feels like business as usual for a Wu-Tang album. Diehard fans will love it no matter what but casual audiences will be lost when it comes to their decade old in jokes.
Wu-Tang Clan: The Saga Continues by Wu-Tang Clan is out now via 36 Chambers/ Entertainment One