News: Wu-Tang Clan
Staten Island's finest to return for final album - but only if RZA's calling the shots
HIP HOP producer RZA has been discussing the possibility of a new Wu-Tang Clan album — potentially their last — with the New York Times.
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of their seminal debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and apparently RZA, real name Robert Diggs, has been thinking hard about what made that period special, with a view to bringing the outfit together for a last hurrah.
For a new album to happen, RZA argued, he would need to function as the group’s “dictator”, ruthlessly editing his fellow crew members’ contributions to end up with a focused product.
“There’s one last job Wu-Tang Clan must do.,” he said. “The 20th anniversary is next year. And we need to, one time, completely, efficiently, properly, professionally represent our brand. One more time. But this time, showing up on time for press and for concerts and studio. Do it one time, perfect. We did good — people love it and I’m proud of what we’ve done. But all that was done — I would always say in my old interviews, ‘This is organised confusion.’ It was kept and contained, but it was a lot of chaos.
“It must remain unpredictable. But now that I’ve done [The Man With The Iron Fists], I’ve seen what a focused mind can do — and that’s how it started. A lot of people don’t know this about Wu-Tang, it started from a focused mind. I was given total autonomy to do whatever I want with them. If you listen to ‘Protect Ya Neck’, and U-God has four lines, not because he only wrote four lines — because I was able to take out everything else and just keep those four lines without him saying, ‘Yo, why I only got four lines?’ They agreed, to me, to be a dictator for five years. And in those five years, it’s considered some of our best work. The work continued on, with Wu-Tang Forever, but that was the first democratic album. And then after that, it kept getting more and more — ‘Well, it’s your album, what do you want to do? You want to hire P Diddy? Whatever you want to do, help yourself. It’s your [thing].’ When before it was like, ‘No, no — it’s what I say.’ Doing this film, I was given the same position again. And I see what happens when a person like me is driving that ship. I think we can do it again. I’ve been talking to some of the guys, I was like, ‘Yo, look, I would suggest that you put down everything you know, and trust me one more time.’
“Oh, it’s got to be hard. [laughs] It’s like, ‘What makes you think you’re the genius?’ Before, they believed in me like that, they trusted me like that. Now, they’ve had a chance to do their own thing, and some things they liked better. Whether it was successful or not, they may like it better. But I would say, if we get one more shot of me being completely trusted as the driver of the ship, I think we could give the world one more record, maybe. And if not that, one more campaign. You got people with tattoos on, man. You got people that some of those words we did, it influenced their life. And you don’t want to leave them.”
The Wu last convened on 2007’s 8 Diagrams. A new record featuring some of the group’s members, Wu-Block, is due imminently — more details here.
Image: Ruth Gwily