First, a recap of what we know about upcoming Wu-Tang Clan album, A Better Tomorrow,all thanks to a recent Grantland feature:
— A new project is in the works.
— Method Man is carrying the team.
— Raekwon is completely out of the picture, but would be welcomed back in a heartbeat.
Now, thanks to the AP, more blanks are being filled in. There’s some interesting insight into the RZA’s creative process, but let’s be honest: we came to check the pulse of Tomorrow…
How’s this for a status update?
RZA says he traveled around the country gathering material for the album, even stopping over in Memphis, Tenn., where he conducted original recording sessions with players from the revered Stax and Hi record labels. Most of his production is complete, and most of the other members of the group — including GZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Inspectah Deck — completed their versework in two sessions over the summer. He hopes to have it completed in 45 days or so after sending it to a few outside producers for final touches.
One obstacle remains.
“Everybody did their verses except Raekwon,” RZA said. “He hasn’t turned in his verses yet. I don’t know if he’s still trying to find the vibe of the music. We have to talk about it before it becomes too late. But he hasn’t come to the table yet.”
Attempts to reach Raekwon for comment were unsuccessful. RZA says he’s not sure if the project can be completed without his crewmate: “Well, you know what, that’s something that I would take a vote on with the rest of the crew. I’m not a dictator about that. Raekwon is a valuable energy to the Wu-Tang, his voice, his lyrics, his approach. Rae is a master lyricist.”
While it’s perfectly reasonable to take the “wait and see” approach, I’d be shocked if we didn’t get something on the shelves within a half year. Unlike other Hip-Hop legends offering empty promises and false hope, the Clan has been consistent with their offerings over the past half-decade, from proper solo albums like Apollo Kids and Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…Pt. 2 to collaborative projects like Wu-Massacre and Wu Block. Even more remarkable, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Wu project to surface in that time period that felt like it was mailed in. That big, yellow W is still a stamp of quality as much it is an ironic t-shirt for Hot Topic-shopping teenagers to wear.
Now, if they can only wrangle in the notoriously thorny Raekwon. A few weeks ago, he responded to similar statements by RZA saying via Twitter, “Yea i just read that rza article? Shit is funny to me. I love u rza, u know what it really is.”[sic]
Tomorrow… should be a grand affair with or without his contributions, but you can’t do a true Wu project properly without Chef.