IRON WIND – Storm Of The Century

What I wanna do is go back. WAY BACK. BACK INTO TIME!!!

Iron WindI’m not talking the intro to Blackstreet’s 1997 hit ‘Don’t Leave Me’, I’m talking 1998. Just before the digital age. We walked into our record stores, you saw rows and rows of No Limit/Cash Money albums looking almost identical to each other dominating the hip hop section….and BAAAM! There it was. A mysterious looking album that caught your eye and curiosity immediately struck. Unless you used to read The Source back then, this album had hardly any promotion and advertising, and all you saw was a striking purple Wu logo with what looked like ninja eyes in the middle. Curiosity got the better of you and you took a chance and copped the album. The album I’m speaking of was La The Darkman, Heist of The Century. To this day, die-hard Wu Fans will tell you that as far as Wu-affiliates, good chance that album would be in their Top 5.

Fast Forward to 2015… and it feels like another moment like that is about to emerge again. Wu-Tang Affiliate Iron Wind from the Protect Ya Neck Records camp. This man, along with a fierce army of guests and producers are about to bring the Storm of the Century.

Originally scheduled for an October release but now pushed back for a January 14 release, Iron Wind is looking to set the new year off by preserving the trademark Wu-Tang Sound that fans love, which was evident in his first single ‘Black Sand’ from the album featured elsewhere on RePPiN4U. If this track is any indication of what the album will be like, it’s gonna be a problem for the underground hip hop scene: “MY GOAL FOR THIS RECORD IS TO BRING BACK THAT REAL Iron Wind Photo ShootUNDERGROUND SOUND WITH THAT WU TANG FLAVOR OF COURSE. IT’S ABOUT HITTING PEOPLE WITH A FURY OF HURRICANIC FLOWS, RAW LYRICS AND A POWERFUL MESSAGE. AS YOU LISTEN TO THE ALBUM IT RESEMBLES THE STAGES OF A STORM THE EYE BEING THE HYPE OF THE ALBUM.”

Storm of the Century will have features from Young Dirty Bastard, ScrollGodz, Righteous Da Goddess, Solomon Childs and much more with production by the Scratch Cat himself among others.

“THE SAGA CONTINUES, WU-TANG, WU-TANG!!!”

Check out the official website HERE and join with the official countdown to the album’s release!

FOLLOW @IronWindMusic on TWITTER

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QUEEN THE PROPHET – The First Lady, Vol 1

Queen_the_Prophet_Hell_Razah_Judah_Priest_Grand-front-largeSeems like December is Wu-Tang’s month… first Inspectah Deck releases his mixtape entitled ‘Cynthia’s Son’, a compilation of Deck’s tracks over the course of his career with some new tracks inspired my his mother. Wu-Tang formed like Voltron to ensure A Better Tomorrow, one week later, the masked avenger known as Ghostface Killah returns after 36 Seasons to clean up Stapleton Projects, and now the First Lady of Hell Razah unleashes her final project from the Hell Razah Music Inc/Ghetto Govt Officials (HRMI) label.

Christian Gospel inspired Hip Hop is a hard market to turn heads. People walk past artists rhyming for the most high in city centres without batting an eyelid or even dropping a dime in the basket. If it’s not DMX on the mic, most hip hop heads don’t wanna know. Queen The Prophet wants to help change that. Under the guidance of the Wu-Tang Clan & Sunz of Man, QTP sees victory at her end of the tunnel.

Her final project under this label is not an end, rather a new beginning. ‘The First Lady, Vol 1’ hosted by DJ Flipcyide boasts guest appearances from Judah Priest, George Yung, Anthony Hamilton, Yung Razah, Hell Razah himself and more. Production credits go to Brandon Heat, Mackin Beats, Miverson and more.

Some highlights on the mixtape include ‘Samurai Jack Freestyle’, Where QTP goes in lyrically sword swinging like Mortal Kombat… In ‘Lois & Clark’, QTP & George Yung become a tag team over a frantic beat usually dismissed by hip hop heads, but their ferocious super heroic delivery is undeniable. Trust in Anthony Hamilton to bring that zoning out flava in ‘Ain’t Nobody’…

QTP has a unique way of keeping her music current to the young fans while spreading the good word… letting them know the true meaning of the word S.W.A.G. in Black Dragon Rose, and for those Wu-Tang Fans who love that Wu-Tang sound, she visits that chamber along with Hell Razah in the epic ‘Keeper of The Flame’.

Peep the mixtape below or hit the free download after the jump…

2015 will mark a new beginning for QTP, as she takes the knowledge instilled in her from Hell Razah and branches out on her own, bringing in a new wave of Christian artists impatiently waiting to break out: “I’ll still be a part of GGO I believe very strongly in the GGO mission & vision and falling back to the business end of HRMI. I will be handling the majority of Razah’s contracts & releases from a business / management stand point. I will also be changing the face of my company Battlegrownd Entertainment under a new name for 2015, “Street Prophet Entertainment” and launching my own independent label “Street Prophet Music Group”. I’m very excited about this project because my passion has always been gospel music and the artists represented by SPE/ SPMG are going to be more conscious/ positive / revolutionary style emcees, Christian hip-hop emcees, and gospel artists. I have a handful of GGO’s lending their skills & talent to this project such as Sneak Vandel, Judah Priest, Rah Dolla & DJ YELLO. The only emcee SPE/SPMG will represent folks have met before will be Grand Giovanni who’s been with me since Battlegrownd Entertainment”.
“I also have two brand new artists I’m going to be pushing “Joseph SD” who recently released his first single “Save Me” Save Me by @_joseph_sd and will be launching Pain for Glory Productions very soon, and his brother “IEZY” whom you’ll hear a Queen the Prophetsingle from shortly. Both are amazingly naturally talented and I honestly can’t wait for the world to hear them. As for me personally as an artist, it’s very important for my music to be defined by what’s in my heart. Upcoming projects for 2015-2016 will be my next mixtape “The New Testament”, my album “The Gospel of Q” and I’m working with GGO RI producer Miverson on a full project since “Standing Ovation” & “Black Dragon Rose” seemed to be the fans favorite singles”.

The truth may hurt but does it kill you to listen? Queen The Prophet is about to bring a flood of good music… there’s no need for an Ark to be built here… become immersed in the moment.

GHOSTFACE KILLAH – 36 Seasons

Around here things change with the seasons. And 36 Seasons is a long time.

ghostface-killah-36-seasonsReally…? Try 84 Seasons. That’s a VERY long time. Confused? You should be…. 21 years after the first Wu-Tang Album, hip hop’s most influential crew releases their ‘anniversary’ album, A Better Tomorrow. The project was met with mixed opinions from fans, half were saying it is a grown, progressive album. The other half, hoping for that 90s, basement like traditional Wu-Tang sound and didn’t get it, declaring it as disappointing. Chef Raekwon was the most concerned during the albums development, but he finally agreed to be a part of it, and even pushed his own album back to make sure he saw A Better Tomorrow.

Ghostface Killah cared not for that, he did the opposite, just like a Ghost, no one saw him coming. Ghost drops a new album one week after the Clan, and fans quickly compared it to A Better Tomorrow. That’s a mistake. You CANNOT compare 36 Seasons to A Better Tomorrow. That’s like comparing a single chicken wing to a full KFC family bucket.

This is the Wallabee Champ’s 11th Studio Album, released on Tommy Boy. Ghostface’s storytelling techniques have grown and progressed to a level where he is near untouchable, from Tearz on 36 Chambers, to the Source Award winning Hip Hop quotable on Wu-Tang Forever’s ‘Impossible’, to the conceptual R&B inspired ‘Ghostdini’, to the Adrian Younge/Apollo Brown endorsed ’12 Reasons To Die’. This new conceptual album, produced entirely by The Revelations who were responsible for the clan’s side projects – Wu-Tang Chamber Music & Legendary Weapons, has raised the bar in so many ways it is unreal.

As soon as the album start, those classic soulful sonics hit the listener right in the heart. After 9 long years, Tony Starks has returned from The Battlefield. Did he really think that things would stay the same after all that time? Yes he was THE MAN, but during his absence, Kool G Rap  who plays the kingpin is now running the streets, and AZ who plays Rog, a friend of Tony’s, has become a man upholding the law. Starks just wants to see his bamboo. He better hope and pray that she’s in, because she could have relocated in that time.

Luckily for Starks, Penelope (Kandace Springs) was still around, unluckily for Starks, she had moved on too. Sorry Ghost, a woman has needs too! Penelope has a new man, and ‘Love Don’t Live Here No More’, the first single from the album. If this soulful track doesn’t have the listener zoning out and feeling the emotion both artists put in this… they might as well hand in their RZA Chambers headphones.

In ‘Here I Go Again’, Starks reunites with his long time friend Rog (AZ). AZ wants Starks to help him be rid of the corrupt behaviour in the streets. Normal circumstances Ghost wouldn’t do that, but Rog & Starks go way back.

What’s fascinating about ‘Loyalty’ is that something happens here that hasn’t happened in a clan album since Ironman… a track that does not feature Ghostface himself. Here the Kingpin (G Rap) is seen politicking with his right hand man (Nems) plotting to rid Stapelton of the man who has returned after 9 years… funny how biting wasn’t allowed in hip hop 20 years ago and here we are with Nems actually flipping the Chef’s lines from C.R.E.A.M.

The Revelations cover of ‘Thin Line of Love and Hate’ is a wonderful rendition of The Persuaders 1971 original. If this track was on a different Ghost album such as ‘The Pretty Toney Album’ or ‘Fishscale’, we may have seen Ghost rhyme over this, but it was clearly not needed here. Such a strong message to men not to mess their good women around, eventually she will switch on you when you least expect.

Interlude over, back into ‘The Dogs of War’…featuring a returning Shawn Wigs from Theodore Unit playing as Ghost’s right hand man Money Miggs, they go to battle with the Kingpin…but it’s the award-winning verse from G Rap that is sure to be Source Hip Hop Quotable worthy describing his confrontation: “The n!**@ hit his mark right on top of my heart (aw, damn)/
My whole chest went numb and the pain got sharp (down)/Fell face down on the ground, saw the Timberland mark/He bopped, swingin’ the gun like a pendulum arm/The silencer on the sh!t was like a Michelin part/Then everything faded out, became of victim of Starks…”

Ghost, victorious from the battle, finds himself scarred from the explosion, is on the brink of death. Trust in Money Miggs to find the one they call Dr X (Pharoahe Monch) to carry out the ‘Emergency Procedure’. Ghost makes a superb comparison to his favourite comic book superhero. The Marvel comic book counterpart was given components to keep his injured heart beating, staying true to Ironman. Dr X hooks him up with a special gas mask to keep him alive, even keeping him immune to Ebola. Starks doesn’t die so easy…he’s not sweating a lawsuit that he lost recently.

Now everything seems to be back to normal for Starks…. or so it seems. After all Rog (AZ) is law enforcement…. crooked to go with it too, hits the ‘Double Cross’, and gets him thrown in jail. Little does Rog know…

Does love still live??? What made Penelope bail him out? Kandace Springs’ character has doubts creeping through as sheKandace Springs wonders if she made a mistake in ‘Bamboo’s Lament’. Her beautiful vocals shows Ghost still has that good ear from 20 years ago.

Sometimes you gotta figure out the ‘Pieces to the Puzzle’. Once great friends, now sworn enemies, and they know their confrontation cannot be avoided. AZ’s character realises this when he learns that Penelope bailed Starks out. Worse still, Ghost figures out the man Penelope dissed him for turns out to be Rog… you know the Jamaican saying: “Never trust yuh fren, your fren dem turn dem back pon yuh!” That’s what my Grandma always used to tell me…

Nems is looking for revenge after what Starks did to the Kingpin… problem is, Starks is out for revenge too, and Nems doesn’t know about the gas mask….it’s not looking good in this ‘Homicide’, and now the confrontation is at hand as finally Starks goes mano o mano with Rog… there will be ‘Blood on the Streets’, AZ’s character compares the rivalry with Starks to Pac & Biggie.

Seems like love still lives after all… In ‘Call My Name’, the community congratulates the masked avenger for cleaning up the streets, it seems that everyone gets a second chance, including Penelope. After all, 36 Seasons was a long time, and the instrumental for ‘I Love You For All Seasons’ serves as the outro, and has the listener picturing a happy ending and the credits rolling on their screens….

…because that’s exactly what this album was; a short film by Ghostface Killah, pictured so vividly and has the listener so immersed in the story. This is storytelling taken to a whole new level, with the album’s guests serving as a character role, which is genius. It doesn’t stop there, the album also comes with a set of instrumentals… so that heads can get their pen & pad on. Ghost & The Revelations didn’t have to do that, but they did. The album also came with its comic book inlay, so the listener can follow the story as they absorb the album.

I’m not sure if it’s me, or there’s a pattern emerging with Ghostface Killah, he is the most consistent of the 10-man juggernaut, when the clan release an album, give or take a year, the reigning, defending Supreme Clientele champion pulls out an exceptional project. Going back to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Ghost had always said that this is a stepping stone to where he gotta go… could he mean film directing? Is that in his future? Is he gonna follow the Abbott himself?

36 Seasons cover photo

METHOD MAN & REDMAN WITH SPECIAL GUESTS M.O.P. LIVE @ Rock City, Nottingham Dec 9, 2014

Meth Red MOP2“Let me explain something to y’all, two things when you come to the Redman & Method Man show: The first thing is weed… the second thing is energy!!!! Where the f**k is the energy???!!” (Method Man, Dec 9, 2014)

Just don’t let Meth know that I neither drink or smoke! MUSIC makes me high like The Lost Boyz! Don’t let Red know that I don’t need to smoke weed at their shows!

November 2, 2013, Method Man & Redman stormed the Eventim Apollo. They had an hour set and Busta Rhymes was to follow them. I said then that their sets was not long enough, yet it was one of the most epic shows I had ever attended. What made it better, was that people doubted the show and found themselves regretting their ignorant ways by not attending. So how do the Def Jam legends top a show like that? It’s simple. Bring M.O.P. with you.

Before the First Family graced the stage, there is something that must be said about the opening acts on this night… I feel their passion, but I’m unsure if rhyming over certain US produced beats will get heads interested. While the unknowing in the crowd will love what’s happening on stage, others will just nod their head to the instrumental and ignore the rhymes simply because they know that beat. People in the crowd were spotted taking selfies and uploading them to instagram.

The venue became a capacity crowd, and the management stuck to the time frame. M.O.P. were scheduled for 8.45pm, and at 8.45pm M.O.P. exploded on stage by being ‘Cold As Ice’. Now the crowd are awake, and Billy Danze & Lil Fame continue their alarm clock ringing by performing their current hits like ‘Bang Time’ and the new ‘187’ from their Street Certified EP. As ferocious as these pair are, even they have to take a short time out in their performance, and by doing that Lil’ Fame went behind the wheels of steel and showed his DJ’ing skills.

A shameful highlight came about when Billy Danze asked the crowd what their first ever single was…  I knew what it was, but when 95% of the crowd couldn’t answer him, I felt embarrassed. This is a crowd who supposedly loves 90s Hip Hop but they don’t know M.O.P.s first single??? Not to worry as the duo soon refreshed their memories as they went into their old school segment, with ‘How About Some Hardcore?’ and ‘World Famous’ amongst others. It just shows how the majority of fans got familiar from the ‘Warriorz’ album… which is arguably their equivalent to Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers in terms of how many hits they performed on stage from that album: ‘Follow Instructions’, ‘Warriorz’, ‘Home Sweet Home’, ‘G-Building’, & ‘Calm Down’….

Photo courtesy of Wu-nited Kingdom

Photo courtesy of Wu-nited Kingdom

“Yeah, The Time is Now, yeah, for all n!**@$ to step up, fake n!**@$, step the f**k back, this is NOT for you…” (DJ Premier, 2000)

Considering that many fans in the building were Wu-Tang fans, was it slightly controversial when the Mash Out Posse named DJ Premier as the greatest producer of all time? Not really. Usually Premier, RZA & Pete Rock are mentioned in the same sentence, and if fans wanted to argue that point, M.O.P had no problem breaking it down why, mentioning the numerous people he brought out, such as Lord Finesse, Guru, all the way to Christina Aguilera. You wanna argue with M.O.P.??? Thought not.

Their 45-minute set ended pretty much as it began, calling forth a mosh pit for Ante Up… it was refreshing to hear the original, as great as the remix with Busta Rhymes & Remy Ma is. M.O.P.’s mission was to warm up the crowd, not set it on FYYYYYYYAAAAAAH!!!! See what I did there???

Shout out to Das Efx’s DJ – DJ Dice who kept the crowd pumping through the seemingly lengthy 15 minute interval with those 90s Hip Hop classics. And just as scheduled, at 9.45pm, the capacity crowd heard the words of the Iron Lung… “Do you wanna get high man???” At this point, the law for smoking indoors had been broken, and the police wasn’t called. That’s what you call great vibes!!!

The Blunt Brothers performance near mirrored what they did last year, but the energy in this performance seemed to have been multiplied 10-fold!

Highlights included Redman’s comedic antics… Redman brought his How High movie cheating strategy into the chorus of ‘City Lights’… That run around the stage though!!! That run he does is straight hilarious! Method Man pulled out his most energetic performance of ‘Fallout’ from the 4:21, The Day After album… Meth was so close to breakdancing I thought I was watching a live action version of ‘Step Up to The Streets’! Shame on Def Jam for not promoting this album, We may have had a video for Fallout from arguably Meth’s most solid solo project.

There is a lesson to be learned: If you are a female, and you are at the very front of the crowd, be ready to fight. That goes for the supporting partner. Females WILL pick a fight with you (and your partner) just to see their favourite Wu-Tang Ticallian Stallion perform ‘All I Need/There For You’… that’s what I saw.

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Photo taken courtesy of Wu-nited Kingdom

As much as Meth & Red love performing the current sh!t, they love to go back to the old sh!t! God bless the classics like ‘Time 4 Sum Aksion’, ‘M.E.T.H.O.D. Man’, and ‘How High’ to name a few… maybe I need to see Redman live on his own, because this is the second time I’ve seen Red & Meth, and while Muddy Waters is arguably his greatest album to date, apart from ‘Pick It Up’, Red didn’t perform any of those tracks on this night.

Just like M.O.P., there was an embarrassing incident that happened. As Wu-Tang affiliate StreetLife was introduced, fans actually questioned who he was… granted people hardly saw him in Wu-videos, this man has been with the Wu from Meth’s first album, appeared on one of GZA’s biggest hits (Cold World), was dominantly featured throughout Meth’s Tical 2000 Judgment Day LP and on Wu-Tang Forever, Nottingham fans need to go back and do the knowledge. Fans wanted that 90s Wu-Tang sound from A Better Tomorrow, but don’t know who StreetLife is? I’m guessing they don’t know who Tekitha is either…

It’s been 10 years since the tragic death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, so Method Man unzipped is emotions as he asked the crowd if they miss ODB like he misses him. Fans at the front will tell you that tears left Method Man’s eyes at this moment. Meth knew  that Dirty would want him to keep going in his memory, so Meth called for the mosh pit as ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ was blasted through the speakers. The energy was so intense that my health condition actually kicked in! Haemochromatosis told me to retreat to the bar to get that glass of water before the worst could happen… Redman traded in his shirt for a Wu-Tang shirt as he and Meth acknowledged the creator of the clan logo – Allah Mathematics on the wheels of steel as he showed his record scratching skills going head to head with DJ Dice.

If there is one thing that hip hop heads love, is when the artists put today’s hip hop on blast… check it – Red & Meth – neither of em wearing chains, and they cussed today’s artists for walking round on stage showing off their necklace, and got 100 hype men behind em and the songs are not even good… Redman told the Nottingham crowd to boo them off the stage! Method Man takes off his shirt, gets the girls wild as he wrings out his shirt… that could never have been sweat… that was like a bottle of water been emptied out on the floor! THAT’S HOW TO ROCK THE CROWD! And Meth didn’t even go into his 36 Chambers segment of the show!

Admittedly, for the life of me I cannot understand how Da Rockwilder is their most successful single… but the show cannot be ended any other way with Red & Meth literally flying into the crowd… something I didn’t see with Redman the first time I saw him live.

This show surpassed last year’s… and that is saying something. If my health came into play, THAT’S HOW GOOD it was. So good, that Meth promises Nottingham that they were so good to him that next year, he’s bringing the entire Clan with him… don’t take this as mere words… a few days later it was announced that Wu-Tang are coming back to the UK in June 2015… two dates are revealed so far, expect more dates to be added. All Nottingham can do, is wait impatiently….

WU-TANG CLAN – A Better Tomorrow

abettertomorrowI’m gonna run this review slightly differently from how I write my reviews… been as I’m a Wu fan from the beginning, I don’t want to sound biased, but this album is two years in the making. Wu fans know the story, so I’m just gonna recap as concise as possible. Originally slated for a July 2013 release to mark the 20th Anniversary, every member was on board apart from one man: Chef Raekwon. Making guest appearances on everyone else’s album apart from the Wu… that bothered me a little bit. He even laced a freestyle over Drake’s Pound Cake instrumental. Usually the name Drake is blasphemy to Wu fans.

“I actually composed for orchestra. So it’s been a strange evolution. At first, I was interested in chopping sounds. then I got more into keyboards. Now I’m like, f**k that. Hip-Hop is gonna be able to be played in Carnegie Hall! But not with a DAT – with a hundred-piece orchestra and a turntable…” (RZA, The Wu-Tang Manual, 2005)

Rae and RZA had creative differences, very similar to the 8 Diagrams situation. After demands and ultimatums, Rae and RZA found common ground, and the album would be pushed back until December 2, 2014. Fans were willing to wait as long as Rae was fully on board. This is it people, the final album from the 10-man collective. Are they going out in a blaze of glory? Or are they gonna fall on their own Wu-Tang Sword?

Usually Clan albums begin with a classic Kung Fu sample…. this doesn’t… but RZA wants to make it clear that the clan can still bring the ruckus….Ruckus In B Minor that is… judging by this Rick Rubin produced banger, it was clear that the album needed a full clan track, even if it meant sampling past ODB vocals. It appeared as though the track was finished as well before Raekwon & Masta Killa came in and laced their verses, over a somewhat prototype version of the original beat. Then the clan wants you to feel how they ‘Felt’ when they reached their goals and personal tragedies…I do like how RZA brought back the element of letting beats ride out to the end…

Allah Mathematics also takes an upbeat militant approach with ’40th Street Black/We Will Fight’… The Clan suits up, SAM_3844trades in their swords for rifles, lyrically marching in the streets of hip hop. This is of course after they experience a Mistaken Identity…it’s great to see a returning StreetLife on the hook, shame he didn’t lace a verse though… it would have been even nicer if this was switched around – have this appear on the album before ‘…We Will Fight. To many cases of police grabbing the wrong man because his facial features are similar – you know how it goes, Black man, black hair, brown eyes….

Ever imagined what a more amplified, uptempo ruckus version of ‘Shadowboxing’ sounded like? Here, ‘Hold The Heater’. Cappadonna continues to fight his frenemies and tricknology, U-God is ready to go ‘Careful’ on people… GZA brings scientific wordplay, and Meth pays homage to Nas & Aretha: “I’m focused, tryna roll the reefer, let’s turn it up/Forget the cope, I’m tryna blow the speaker, that’s all he wrote/One verse could turn your soul to ether/It’s time you gave me my respects just like the old Aretha, Mr. Meth!”

In every Clan album, one member goes in for dolo while the clan stands back. This time it’s the turn of Raekwon in ‘Crushed Egos’, after all he deserves it. While RZA jumps in for the hook and bridge. Very interesting here, RZA’s hook has a double meaning: It’s taken from Clan In Da Front, at the same time, are the Chef & the Abbott crushing their own egos here?

‘Keep Watch’ is the first single from the album, yet that is not exactly true, I will explain later. Initially fans were divided, Producer Allah Mathematics defends his case: . “It’s bittersweet,” he says. “It feels good, but at the same time the version that they put out, that’s actually the wrong version. That’s not the mixed and mastered version, so I just hit ‘em so I am trying to get that up right now so everybody can get the real feel of it. Other than that, it feels great. It was just good to work with brothers again.”  (Original source: XXL Mag, March 19, 2014)

Warner Bros. Records Signs Legendary Hip-Hop Group Wu-Tang ClanSome fans may scoff at this, but the chorus in ‘Miracle’ is actually an act of genius. Yes it sounds like an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, but the clan’s storytelling here is moving… Inspectah Deck buts his tears on wax when he tells the story of burying his home girl after a case of crossfire, Masta Killa describes that what he’s seen in his life mirrors what is depicted in the Godfather saga, Raekwon flips Drake’s ‘Started from the Bottom’ and transforms it into a mafioso tale, & Ghostface cries for help for his people dying from Ebola and other diseases while the government hides the cures. When Ghost comes in however, 4th Disciple switches the dramatic beat up to epic proportions.

The Preacher claims to fear no man but God, but what about his daughter? Meth, Masta, Cappadonna & Ghost give different perspectives on the rebellious one over the Dusty Springfield sample ‘Son of a Preacher Man’.

Fans that thirst for that true Wu-Tang Shaolin sound are going to rejoice here… Pioneer The Frontier & Necklace fully embraces that. The former sees RZA reaching back for his DAT player, chopping up music from classic kung fu flicks, throwing classic ODB samples and looping it while the Clan’s pen hits tremendous. The latter has production credits from S. Bougard, not sure why that is but fans know it’s 4th Disciple behind the boards. Unlike those other artists showing off what jewellery they got, the clan have legitimacy and express what the chains they wear actually mean to them, anyone foolish to do or say something slick obviously don’t value their neck.

The Kung Fu sample in-between flows nicely into ‘Ron O Neal’, Here the clan pay tribute to the actor who featured in the film Super Fly, Masta Killa brings back one of his memorable lines from Ghostface Killah’s Assassination Day, while RZA demonstrates how he will wake up people with his digital bullet: “I hold the steel like Ron O’Neal/Super fly, do or die, Killah Hill, Brownsville/Never ran, never will, yes I can, yes I will/Put a dot upon your knot then I drill through your grill…”

I’m gonna call this ‘A Better Tomorrow Part II’… as this is a title track on Wu-Tang Forever and there is no explanation of why this track has the same name. Over the Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes ‘Wake Up Everybody’ track, RZA brings the 1975 classic to 2014 as Method Man starts it off in an inspiring Nas One Mic fashion, Masta Killa & Cappadonna continue to teach the seeds but it’s the Chef who has the shining moment as he address the latest goings on in police brutality ad injustice: “We want justice, police supposed to protect and serve/And then they shoot us down like wild animals/The nerve of them cold-hearted killers/With blue suits slaying our black youth/The earth cries from all the blood that’s being spilled…” The backward quote comes from RZA “The original man is God, the supreme being, black man from Asia” It’s done that way because Rae’s last bars explain the slavery tactics of turning black people against each other. A stunning track, but compared to A Better Tomorrow Part 1, well that’s another story…literally.

Shout out to Martin Luther King – he made the album! How crazy is that!!! In ‘Never Let Go’, the clan drop jewels all over the track… even if RZA clearly got his message across, he could have sounded a bit more savage or have that tone of voice he had in the Gravediggaz Shovel album…Wu-Tang Reunion closes out the album… originally called ‘Family Reunion’ when it was released in the Spring of 2013, the soul is all there but there were issues of the first single that it should be a head banger…

…and that’s the main reason Wu fans are divided over this album: Lack of raw, head bangers, that 4th Chamber like sound, that Winter Warz type sound. Fans all over social media are disappointed over this album, and rightfully so… yet a lot of them don’t break it down properly, this is where I come in.

“…and the RZA, he’s the sharpest muthaf***a in the whole clan he always on point…with the beats, with the rhymes whatever, any DJ..” (Method Man, Intermission, 1993)

Is that statement still relevant 20 years later? Or is RZA ahead of his time? What RZA has done is incorporate a lot more live instrumentation over traditional Wu beats – if you listen very closely, the Wu-Tang sound is all there. This is all good – IF RZA did this on his solo albums… the fans may receive it a lot more. The fans were told – this is the last clan album. So in that case, the clan needs to go out in a bang.

N!**@$ can’t even understand half this sh!t
I think n!**@$ ain’t gonna figure it out til the year Two-G…” (RZA, Bells Of War, 1997)

SAM_3845…but the album doesn’t seem that epic to be that LAST album, we did feel that vibe with Jay-Z’s The Black Album, but not this. Fans say no wonder Raekwon had his issues… listen to Raekwon on this album – he truly shined. He wanted outside producers to add-on. RZA should have agreed, maybe not Dr Dre as reported, but maybe producers that can capture the Wu-Tang sound like MF DOOM, Apollo Brown or 9th Wonder. Having said that, if RZA did allow that, the same fans with the gripes would complain that they want a fully produced RZA/Wu-Elements album. Two of those aforementioned producers are criticized for not varying their beats, but RZA shows growth and progression. Is it really a bad thing? This is 20 years later, you can’t expect it to be 1993. The clan have evolved from that, even though there are moments in the album (Hold the Heater, Pioneer The Frontier, Necklace).

Side notes: Even though Tekitha was not as dominantly featured like earlier albums, it was good to hear her background vocals in the Better Tomorrow Part 2 track. A few WU-TANG!!! Chants wouldn’t have hurt either, severely lacking in this album. It was great to see the more dominant MCs in the crew step back a little while Masta Killa, U-God and Cappadonna in particular moved forward with more fire in their belly.

One other thing worth noting, When Wu-Tang Forever first dropped in 97, a lot of fans actually dismissed it. Fast forward over 15 years later, and fans hail it as arguably the best Wu album. Let’s see what happens with this album in about 10 years time. Even the clan have hinted that A Better Tomorrow may not be the last album at the conference. With all that said, Is A Better Tomorrow a good album? YES. Is it an album we had hoped for as its last album? NO. Is it a classic? Ask me in 10 years.