It really is a ‘Family Reunion’, as the recently-reunited Wu-Tang Clan have revealed their upcoming 20th anniversary album – tentatively named A Better Tomorrow - will feature all the original members including fallen comrade Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
The late member of the ever-fluctuating group, Ol’ Dirty Bastard passed away in 2004. Previously recorded material from the rapper featured as a bonus track on their last record 8 Diagrams, released three years after ODB’s death.
Talking to Best Fit, Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck said they’ve been rummaging through the archives once more, explaining: “RZA has a bunch of Ol’ Dirty tracks and verses that for years nobody’s heard and, from my last conversation , we’re supposed to have an Ol’ Dirty track on there. It may be by itself or we might join it on to another song. But Ol’ Dirty is going to be part of this album, that’s a fact.”
A Better Tomorrow was originally slated for a July release but now looks more like to drop in November, around the actual date of the collectives’s 20 year anniversary. Despite the group’s de-facto leader RZA previously saying the record would be the “one last job Wu-Tang Clan must do”, things aren’t entirely set in stone. “I feel young, young enough to do like three more,” Inspectah Deck told us.
“But it depends, people are perceiving this as our last one but it doesn’t have to be. People look at you for what you did last, so it depends really on the success of this one. If this one does really well, then I’m pretty sure we’ll come together for another one.”
His Wu-Tang counterpart, Masta Killa added: “At the end of our shows, we always ask the fans ‘How many of you out there want another Wu-Tang Clan album?’ and the whole crowd scream. That motivation is my motivation. When I hear that, there’s nothing else to talk about. Let’s go to the studio, let’s get it done.”
Not giving too much away about what to expect from A Better Tomorrow, Masta Killa told us to anticipate the “original Wu-Tang sound”, which he says has developed in time and not in response to the current musical climate.
“All I can tell you is that we’re striving for that first essence, that first sound of Wu-Tang, that first voice, that first everything… I don’t think anybody’s expecting us to do what everyone else is doing, but instead what we do. Because that’s what’s actually missing out there.”
The Wu-Tang members may also be the only people not to have heard Yeezus or Magna Carta yet, citing the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Joey Bada$$ as the most exciting thing in today’s hip-hop scene.
Wu-Tang Clan reconvene for two UK shows prior to A Better Tomorrow‘s release, stopping off at Manchester on Thursday (25 July) and London on Friday (26 July).
Photo by Howard Melnyczuk