The Wrap Up caught up with the Wu-Tang Clan’s own Raekwon as the crew get ready to come to the UK in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of their monumental debut album ‘Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’. The record brought East Coast rap to permanent prominence, influenced the careers of artists from Jay Z to Nas and pushed hardcore hip-hop into the face of the mainstream. Simply put – they are your favourite rapper’s favourite rappers.
We gave Raekwon a call at his hotel in Milan during the clan’s tour through Europe, and the lyricist was in high spirits. He said of their forthcoming UK performances: “It feels good to come to the UK ‘cause we don’t get to come too often. We felt it was important for us to do an international tour and talk about the twenty years that we’ve been in the business – and of course, perform.”
Wu-Tang Clan members GZA, RZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, U-God, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon (and not forgetting the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who passed away in 2004) have been a collective for over twenty years; a long time in an industry that sees groups split frequently.
“You know, we brothers. We’re able to still have that respect for one another and love each other. Of course, we grew up in the business together, and everything’s been cool. But the politics and the business side of things – we have to protect ourselves when it comes to business, you know what I mean?
“Personally it’s been good but with business, we’re still learning and it’s important for everyone’s business to be right.”
Speaking of their upcoming album which was said to be called ‘A Better Tomorrow’, Raekwon revealed: “The name might change. It was a name that RZA wanted, but we all agreed that it might change. We’re still trying to sort out the production side of things; we still got a lot of stuff we need to do. We don’t wanna rush something that’s not what it’s meant to be. We taking our time right now.”
The crew will be performing in Manchester on July 25 at the O2 Apollo, and will then come to Brixton Academy on July 26 before performing at Bestival on September 5.
Mic Righteous is supporting the south London show. We asked the ‘Ice Cream’ artist to share his thoughts on UK rappers.
“We’ve been hearing a lot of guys getting strong with their music out there [in the UK] and it’s a good thing, because believe it or not, a lot of production that comes to the States are made by international artists and producers. Everyone is starting recognise hip-hop for what it is - one nation. Everybody’s growing, you know what I mean?”
Moving forward, not only can we expect a record from the collective, their first since ‘8 Diagrams’ in 2007, but we can also expect solo projects from the clique.
“I got an album coming out possibly at the end of the year called ‘Fly International Luxurious Art’. I’m still working on it right now and I feel good about it. Because it’s our twentieth anniversary, there’s gonna be multiple projects coming up from the whole of Wu this year.”
Words: Maz Khan (@MazHalima)
Quotes: Shireen Fenner (@Shireenxoxo)