This isn’t really a Wu-Tang Clan album. It’s a compilation of new songs featuring Wu-Tang Clan, U-God excluded, along with a fistful of guest rappers and singers. The project is produced by DJ Mathematics, so the beats; the sort of rough rugged hip-hop you’ve come to expect from the group; are consistently solid. So are the raps. It’s the ambundance of weak breaks, like the amateurishly-cut Frozen and Hood Go Bang hooks, and awkward artistic decisions, like having nonmember Redman start things off, that flaw the set.
my rating = 3 of 5
This song should have a different title. There’s a horn sound at the end, but I don’t hear any bells. The beat, a mellow hip-hop groove, is one of Rza’s best though. He also has the best verse. “I stay highs like treble,” he declares, “Those who oppose get plucked like rose pedals.”
Wise decision not adding a hook, which, judging from other Wu-Tang joints, would’ve probably shot the quality down. Not so wise to include a discussion about the latest upsets in pro boxing, which needlessly reminds future listeners they’re listening to a song made in 1997.
my rating = 4 of 5
2000 or 2001
The main problem I have with this album is the title. Wu-Tang Clan (members) made a song called A Better Tomorrow back in 1997. Making a new one that seems to have nothing to do with the original and titling a new album after it, or vice versa, is conceptually outlandish. Surely they could’ve thought of a different (original) name for this project. I guess Rza is the one to blame. He’s not only the leader but also my favorite member. As an MC, he’s generally underrated in comparison to the more critically acclaimed ones like Method Man, Ghostface and Raekwon. Not that he has many chances to rap. Wu-Tang Clan is a group of nine; Cappadonna seems to have unofficially taken the place of Ol Dirty Bastard; and Rza’s busy making beats.
That mix of raw eclectic hip-hop is more elaborate but usually less fulfilling than his earlier simpler stuff. It does, however, represent the best parts of an album with raps that are rarely better than decent and hooks you don’t necessarily want to hear more than once. Crushed Egos, Hold The Heater, Ruckus In B Minor; all fall victim to banal breaks. Miracle, the chorus of which sounds laughably out of place on a Wu album, needs a Disney disclaimer. Felt, a disaster in wordplay à la KRS-One’s Hold, is just stupid. Forget the lack of chemistry between rappers; the monologues consist of old Dirty Bastard clips; the album is basically another 8 Diagrams. That means I’ll play the one or two songs I like and just hope they do better next time.
my rating = 3 of 5