Everybody is Talking About the Good Ole Days: RZA on the Soul of Music
by Ericka Blount Danois
If hip-hop tours, white appropriation, anniversary celebrations, books and hip-hop documentaries aren’t an indication that hip-hop has reached the status of Beatles-style nostalgia and reverence, then releasing a Wu-Tang Clan
anniversary reunion album, A BetterTomorrow,
is solid proof that the genre has officially arrived
RZA, always the heart of the operation, worked tirelessly to round up the troops and dissolve beefs for the reunion album that dropped Dec. 2, 2014. “I wanted to make a record that pays homage to soul music and hip-hop,” he said about the making of this album. “I went to the past to make something for the future.”
RZA came out of his own pockets to fund the album to the tune of half a million dollars. Some of the best in the industry are featured on the album—Rick Rubin, Adrian Younge, David Porter, Kenny Gamble and Rob Cavallo, all had their hands in the pot.
Wu-Tang has always done things big and with vision. RZA led the 9-member group to an unprecedented label deal where each member was able to launch solo records. The deal allowed them to become the most revolutionary rap group of the mid-’90s releasing five group and 19 compilation albums totaling over 6 platinum records and over 40 million sold.
Earlier last year, the group put out another 20th reunion album entitled, The Wu: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, a 128-minute, 31-song, double-album no one has yet heard. The intention was to elevate hip hop back to its art form by making the album a museum show piece. The plan is to sell the only copy. So far, they have received a bid for $5 million.
In 1997, Wu Tang Forever was released and the group unofficially disbanded though they released The W in 2000.
From the 80s when three cousins, RZA, GZA and Ol’ Dirty Bastard united to form the crews Imperial Masters and All in Together, until today, Wu Tang represents a lot of soul, hip-hop eternal, shaolin, plenty of bongs and the crew that is always about getting Bugs Bunny money.
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