|Yo Raekwon could easily start at middle linebacker for Michigan State.|
Yo… yo… yo… I own a sweatshirt that says “Haters Gonna Hate”. It’s obviously stupid and completely ridiculous, but it’s also amazing (and you know it!). I wear it pretty much all the time and it doesn’t matter what you think about it because no one cares about your fat dumb face. Just like it doesn’t matter what this idiot said about the new Wu-Tang album or this nimrod here. The only thing that matters is this: I dare you… I DARE YOU… to listen to the first minute of this album, and if afterwards you do not want to rob a bank, rock a fur coat or tomahawk dunk over BOTH Lopez twins, then you are living a goddamn lie.
This new Wu album is BOMB.
Or whatever the hell people say these days when they’re trying to say that they liked a new rap album. Also, let it be known that this post was #BANNED from The 700 Level. Also check out this Wu-Tang potato that came with my scrambled eggs.
Don’t get me wrong; I was skeptical of their new album. I’m 37 years old. I own three pairs of slippers. Read that again. THREE. DIFFERENT. PAIRS. I see a dermatologist every six months so he can check my moles for cancer. I am not exactly the Inspectah Deck’s target demographic. I am currently eating soup. Even people fifteen years younger than me – the people who are supposed to actually listen to rap music – were like, what, three years old when 36 Chambers came out? My three-year-old nephew thinks he’s a pirate. Like, he legitimately thinks he’s a pirate. He doesn’t even know what the freak a pirate is, but dude will straight-up roll up on you waving his fist in the air goin’ “Arggghh!” if you step to him. How am I supposed to respond to that? Dude can’t even put on his own socks. And yet he’s supposed to appreciate “causin’ more family feuds than Richard Dawson”?
A Better Tomorrow is not the greatest rap album in the history of music, but it’s better than 99% of the other dogshit out there. And it’s got everything we’ve come to expect from the Wu: crazy kung fu beats, the ODB yelling nonsense, songs about one guy blowing another guy’s tits off. I didn’t even think the Wu-Tang Clan still carried guns (aren’t they rich?!), but apparently they do. Or at least they’d like us to think they still do. And I for one believe ‘em! Either way, listening to them rap about killing people this week gave me the same feeling it did 20 years ago: I want to shoot a man in his face and cop his sneakers.
Besides the hard-hitting samples and ching-chang chinga ching-ching sounds, what sets the Wu apart has always been their nine distinct flows (RIP Ol’ Dirty). Nine different voices. NINE. As in more than six, seven OR eight. And on this new jawn, these niner have come up with some lyrical gems. On the song “Crushed Egos,” Raekwon claims he owns an alpaca coat. That means he has a fur coat made of alpacas. Later, he says he wears bulletproof PJs. Cappadonna says he has a different robe for every day of the week. There’s also a reference to The Ultimate Warrior. And Calvin Johnson. And Justin Tuck. And there’s even a song called “Ron O’Neal” about the actor who played the cocaine dealer in Superfly. I have no idea if that’s amazing or not, but that seems absolutely amazing.
But the best line of the album – the best line BY FAR – comes from Ghostface (obvs), who on the song “Felt” describes a time when he was strugglin’ by saying, “felt like Dragonfly Jones was draggin’ fly Tone.” Now, obviously I didn’t know what the hell he was talkin’ about. I never know what these guys are talking about. But I knew Ghost’s nickname was Tony Starks, so I knew he was obviously talkin’ about himself, but I had to google who the hell Dragonfly Jones was. Turns out, Dragonfly Jones was this karate master from Martin:
That’s why Ghost is the best.
That’s why Martin is the best.
YOU NEED TO WATCH THAT VIDEO.
Look, some people are gonna complain about this album because people are the worst. There’s a ballad song called “Miracle” that’s pretty dumb, and there’s another jawn with way too much guitar, and the fellas mention “kicking rocks” around 17 too many times. But there’s also a part where Ghostface does an impression of ODB saying “Muh-RYE-ah” that is spot-on and hilarious.
The bottom line is: the Killa Beez dropped a new album – and even if it’s not as ill as some of their old stuff, and it kinda sucks that they’re not as tight-knit as we always thought they were – the Killa Beez dropped a new album! It’s still got RZA weaving guitar strums into gunshots. It’s still got Method Man smokin’ weed with Red. It’s still preaching the Tao of Wu: get knowledge, make money, stick together, and shoot mofos before they shoot you.
In the title track “A Better Tomorrow,” Method Man asks, “Tired of waiting? Get yo weight up.” And whether you’re a pimple-faced teenager discovering Wu for the first time, or a thirtysomething white bull who is literally watching The Mindy Project as he types this sentence, the wait is over. The Wu is back. And while they might not be better than ever, they will still shoot you right in your throat.