New York-based rap supergroup Wu-Tang Clan is set to drop "Iron Flag," its fourth album and second in as many years, this month. Following close in the footsteps of last year's "The W," the album is d

New York-based rap supergroup Wu-Tang Clan is set to drop "Iron Flag," its fourth album and second in as many years, this month. Following close in the footsteps of last year's "The W," the album is due Dec. 18 on Loud Records.

"Iron Flag" was executive produced by Ghostface Killah and group abbot RZA, who says of the quick turnaround, "because it usually takes a few years in between for us to release an album, we thought we'd try something different from our norm and hit the hood with something new quicker than before. Everybody's rhymes were on point and it only took us about thirty days to make 'Iron Flag.' I believe it's some of our best work yet."

An initial single from the set, "Pinky Ring" was sent to radio in October. A second track, "The Rules," will be the first commercial single from the album, featuring lyrics referring directly to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Only two guest appearances dot "Iron Flag" -- veteran R&B group the Isley Brothers helps out on "Back in the Game" and Public Enemy court jester Flava Flav trades rhymes with Method Man on "Soul Power." Other new titles include "Babies" and "In the Hood."

The group will celebrate the new album's release with a Dec. 19 show at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. It was at the same venue's release party for "The W" last November that Ol' Dirty Bastard, on the run after escaping a court-ordered stay at a drug rehab facility in Pasadena, Calif., jumped on stage with the group. Although a number of policemen were on hand, ODB was able to leave the venue and avoid arrest. Less than a week later, he was apprehended in the parking lot of a Philadelphia McDonald's.

"The W" debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 in December 2000. Many of the Wu's members have also released solo albums in 2001: Cappadonna's sophomore set "The Yin and the Yang" dropped in April, while ODB's greatest-hits package "Dirty Story" (Elektra) and RZA's second album as Bobby Digital, "Digital Bullet" (Koch), hit the streets in September. Ghostface Killah's "Bulletproof Wallets" (Starks Enterprises/Epic) was released Nov. 20, and Method Man's soundtrack collaboration with Redman, "How High," is due Tuesday (Dec. 11). The duo also star in the film

As previously reported, ODB has a new solo album, "The Trial and Tribulations of Russell Jones," set for a March 2 release from D3 Entertainment. The artist is currently serving two to four years in prison on cocaine possession charges.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print