Why Wu Tang is Forever | The Saga Continues (Album Review)

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With sig­na­ture dark atmo­spher­ic Wu beats, sharp rhymes con­sist­ing of witty word­play and con­scious con­tent, inter­twined with vin­tage kung fu samples, mod­ern pop cul­ture ref­er­ences and socioeco­nom­ic com­ment­ary, it almost sounds like an audio revolu­tion. Cur­rent yet some­what nos­tal­gic, the intro to some tracks made me remin­is­ce on the begin­ning of older tracks as did some of the lines such as, ‘flee with the lot­tery’, I had an instant flash­back to ‘Tri­umph’!

There was sur­pris­ingly little word on the street about the release of, The Saga Con­tin­ues’ by Wu Tang, per­haps because it’s not per­ceived as a full clan album (miss­ing mem­bers GZA and U-God) or may­be, just may­be it is that these men need no intro­duc­tion or hype. High expect­a­tions seems to have left some ‘fans’ cri­tiquing want­ing some­thing harder, nev­er­the­less these beats are clearly rooted from some­thing nur­tured in the 90’s and not of this era. For me the slight change of sound I think may be con­fu­sion in accept­ing these emcees have now grown into wiser men, with over 25 years in the game do you really think they will be sound­ing exactly the same? The slightly more chilled vibe of this album reflects being older and look­ing at life from a dif­fer­ent per­spect­ive, I respect that, and I’m noth­ing but grate­ful for another gem from the gen­er­als of Wu to whom I have grown with myself.

Pro­duced by DJ Math­em­at­ics a long time Wu affil­i­ate and fam­ily mem­ber, I have fond memor­ies of see­ing him open for the Wu Tang Clan many years ago and I vividly remem­ber think­ing he was the best DJ I had ever heard, and I haven’t felt like that ever since. For this reas­on, hear­ing him get­ting shown love for everything he has done, includ­ing design­ing the icon­ic ‘W’ sym­bol was some­thing sen­ti­ment­al for me, he did a great job on the pro­duc­tion. This album has that com­ic book feel, you won’t find any auto tune or trap beats here. Some hooks are a bit more melodi­ous com­pared to what the hard­core fan might expect but they aren’t over­done and work very well.

Red­man brings his wild energy as the first voice we hear, with all his col­lab­or­a­tions with Meth it’s no sur­prise, he’s not out of place and gets the air­time he deserves. I would nev­er have put Red­man and Inspec­tah Deck togeth­er but they com­ple­ment each oth­er well on ‘Les­son Learn’d’. Deck murders his verse it was prob­ably my favor­ite from the whole album with lines like, ‘I splash bravado, fast cash afi­cion­ado’. He also drops a men­tion of what has caused The Wu so much drama recently, ‘my price hik­ing like the pills Mar­tin Shkreli sells’ of course a ref­er­ence to the man who infuri­ated many by increas­ing the price of Daraprim — a drug for a rare para­sit­ic infec­tion called tox­o­plas­mos­is by over 5000%. Did Red­man also take a stab at him in the same track? ‘When I drop some­thing, you like Mar­tin, all ears’ who knows…

I respect Wu as a col­lect­ive but also as indi­vidu­al artists in their own right, each one is strong and has their own unique style, so when they come togeth­er it’s always a treat. One of the more well known mem­bers Meth­od man has a strong pres­ence on this album, his word­play had me gig­gling like a school­girl at times just because they were so sitty, ‘Some­times I leave the R out of Brother, why bother’ clev­er line play. I love his atti­tude to life, accept me as I am like me or don’t. His punch­line on, ‘People Say’ may have gone unnoticed, ‘War­ri­ors come out and play-yayyyy’, which is ref­er­ence to where the sample is from, ‘I got the kind of love’ by The Dip­lo­mats, which is fea­tured on the cult New York movie, ‘The War­ri­ors’.  It’s these little details that I live for.  Per­son­ally I think there is a lot of wit on this album, you just have to appre­ci­ate it. One of my favor­ite lines was by R-Mean, ‘Hom­ie we focused, my camp Aus­chwitz with con­cen­tra­tion’, which is refer­ring to the con­cen­tra­tion camp dur­ing the Holo­caust.

Another dom­in­at­ing pres­ence on this album for me is RZA, he comes across as a wise monk, only wiser with age, he stands out for me in the way only RZA can, I feel like he is teach­ing me about life and death, I have images of him stand­ing on moun­tain tops embark­ing on a spir­itu­al jour­ney (which he actu­ally describes). I picked up on a lot of ref­er­ences to the FBI and police bru­tal­ity. RZA addresses civil rights on, ‘Equal oppor­tun­it­ies to uplift our com­munit­ies, instead your shot to the head a black man’s life worth less than a loaf of bread’ talks about the crazi­ness of hav­ing to fight for civil rights in this day and age in Amer­ica and addresses police bru­tal­ity, the hook asks, ‘why why why’.

Con­scious skit’s one thing I love dearly about Wu, snip­pets address­ing the role of the black man and his import­ance in fam­ily touch­ing more on the tra­di­tion­al roles in fam­ily, which again I think is very remin­is­cent of 90’s hip hop.

Ref­er­ences to the Five per­cent nation may have fallen on deaf ears but for me these rekindle my love affair with seek­ing know­ledge dur­ing hip hop in the 90’s, many lines to make us think about being woke in this day and age. Another reas­on why this album was a breath of fresh air for me, it’s not about liv­ing in the past but it’s about keep­ing that con­scious­ness through­out the evol­u­tion of soci­ety.

To those who are not feel­ing this album I would say give it a few more listens, it’s the kind of album you feel more the more you listen to it. On that note, with the out­ro by RZA talk­ing med­it­a­tion, Islam and pick pock­et­ing Bruce Wayne that is all the com­pon­ents of a real life super­hero empowered by self dis­ciple, faith, ima­gin­a­tion and no lim­its. For these reas­ons, this album for me is just a remind­er why —  Wu Tang is Forever.

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Faizah Cyanide

Faizah Cyanide

Faizah works in clin­ic­al research by pro­fes­sion and has been an avid Hip Hop lov­er since the early 90’s, hav­ing cre­ated her own Hip Hop event, ‘Break­in’ Bound­ar­ies’ in the early 2000’s which was pre­dom­in­antly based around the con­cept of bboy battles, she has worked with sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al events pro­moters and dan­cers to inspire oth­ers through this art­form.

About Faizah Cyanide

Faizah Cyanide
Faizah works in clinical research by profession and has been an avid Hip Hop lover since the early 90's, having created her own Hip Hop event, 'Breakin' Boundaries' in the early 2000's which was predominantly based around the concept of bboy battles, she has worked with several international events promoters and dancers to inspire others through this artform.