Legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan have returned. Continuing a legacy that has spanned over 25 years, Wu-Tang : The Saga Continues is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated releases for fans of the genre. The 18-track compilation was a production product by Mathematics, a long-time affiliate and creator of the immortal Wu-Tang logo.
With RZA as an executive producer on the project, he has previously called the album ‘a masterpiece’ in a press release, adding “For years, Math has had the idea of putting together a body of music using modern and legendary equipment such as ASR10 with vocal performances by Wu-Tang Clan members and other prominent MCs.” This labour of love is nothing other than a passionate homage to old-school hip-hop, featuring Ghostface Killah, Method Man, GZA, Raekwon, Inspektah Deck and Masta Killa.
With an intro courtesy of RZA himself, the album promises big things. Lesson Learn’d by Inspektah Deck and Redman sets the tone for the album, it’s classic, chilled and feels familiar in a way. The third track, Fast and Furious is a personal favourite. Hue Hef and Raekwon collaborate to create a track that’s fresh, stylish and an all-round new classic.
The album features little skits, clips and instrumentals throughout. The tongue-in-cheek references and little breaks keep the pace and creates the feel of a collaborative project, with a playful attitude. Standout tracks include If Time is Money featuring Method Man, which is undoubtedly catchy and Why Why Why; a track that resonates with the sentiment of times in light of the current political climate. RZA and Swnkah collaborate to create something laid-back and thoughtful.
Pearl Harbor is a big track, from its majestic introduction to the individual verses, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, RZA and Sean Price’s collaboration feels like a celebration of hip-hop and the collective’s legacy.
My Only One is another all-star collaborative production, featuring Ghostface Killah, RZA, Cappadonna and Steven Latorre. The tracks chorus seems a little bit mainstream pop for the group, but it’s redeemed by its verses which are articulate, witty and ultimately groovy.
Closing the album is the thoughtfully-written Message, it reflects on the creation of relationships while carefully-crafted instrumentals play behind it, then the Outro by RZA sends the listeners out. It’s a fitting way to end, and make the album feel more cyclical.
While it’s a strong album, with some really good standout tracks, it doesn’t really make that big an impact as a whole. The collection of tracks have been put together well, and it’s clear that a lot of love went into it but it seems to feel slightly underwhelming compared to other big hip-hop releases, such as A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It From Here. Nevertheless, most Wu-Tang fans will be pleased with the album, there are even a few new tracks that are sure to become instant classics.