Wu-Tang Clan comes back strong on “The Saga Continues”
MANAGING MOSAIC EDITOR
Wu-Tang Clan has been at the forefront of hip-hop music since their debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” was released in 1993. They were one of the many collectives that emerged in the wake of N.W.A. and, being from New York, were some of the most memorable rappers to rep the East Coast. Although many fans, myself included, feel their work as of late has been lackluster, “The Saga Continues” proves that the group can still put out some great hip-hop.
The record opens up with a classic Wu-Tang “skit” track, in which the de facto leader of the group, RZA, welcomes listeners back with a few seconds of hard-hitting bars — “21st century and we still gotta duck some f—ing coppers?” — before the first actual track, “Lessons Learn’d”. The beat sounds like it came straight off of “36 Chambers,” with Redman delivering a classic and catchy Wu-Tang chorus. Inspectah Deck uses this track to diss Martin Shkreli, whose purchase of an expensive and rare Wu-Tang record, “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin”, angered the members after Shkreli hiked the price of AIDS medication by 4,000 percent.
The following tracks also reflect the old Wu-Tang sound, although it takes a little bit of time for some of the bigger names of the group to make an appearance. The fifth track, “If Time is Money,” introduces Method Man —arguably the most popular member of the group — back into the mix. Immediately afterwards, the skit “Berto and the Fiend” introduces Ghostface Killah, who proceeds to crush the next track “Pearl Harbor.” As the record continues, it evokes more nostalgia from the listener, even including samples from old kung fu films, a trick Wu-Tang has long been known for. Tracks like “If What You Say is True,” “Hood Go Bang!” and “G’d up” truly make you feel like you’re in the mid-’90s discovering the group for the first time.
Although I greatly enjoyed the record, I was not a fan of “Why Why Why.” The track just seems to drag on: the slow and mellow beat seems to take away from the momentum for me. Wu-Tang is known to be a diverse collective, including all types of musical influences into their music, so the appearance of a slow, groove-oriented track is not unusual for them. I personally just did not feel that this track was executed as well as it could have been — especially considering RZA is the only member to rap on it.
“The Saga Continues” proves to be a triumphant return for Wu-Tang Clan.I feel that this is an incredibly strong release for the group, especially in comparison to 2014’s “A Better Tomorrow.”
Tracks to listen to:
“Hood Go Bang!”