Wu-Tang Clan Regrouping For 2004 Tour, Book
After a tumultuous recent history which has seen its members incarcerated, dropped from record labels and at odds with one another, pioneering hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan will embark on what iAfter a tumultuous recent history which has seen its members incarcerated, dropped from record labels and at odds with one another, pioneering hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan will embark on what is said to be its final tour next year, Billboard.com can reveal. The 60-city outing will likely get underway in May or June, coinciding with Riverhead Books' release of the comprehensive group history, "The Wu-Tang Manual."
"This is basically everything Wu," Riverhead senior editor Sean McDonald tells Billboard.com, adding that group member RZA has been spearheading the project. "A large chunk will be the whole mythology of the group, explaining not so much how they came up with it, but what it means to them and how everything interconnects."
"The Wu-Tang Manual" will be issued as a slightly oversized paperback and will also sport an autobiographical entry on each member and a lyrical encyclopedia with annotations. "The idea is, it's 10 years [since the group's landmark 1993 debut, "Enter the 36 Chambers"]," McDonald says. "I think it's a chance to look back and explain what they've been doing all along. No one has actually been able to reveal the way it is all put together in their minds, particularly in RZA's."
All major members of the group, including the oft-jailed Dirt McGirt (formerly Ol' Dirty Bastard) are said to be on board for the tour, Wu-Tang's first major road trip since a controversial, aborted 1997 run of dates with Rage Against The Machine.
The group has not released a studio album since 2001's "Iron Flag," which has sold just 445,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. "Enter the 36 Chambers" and its 1997 follow-up, "Wu-Tang Forever," have sold 3.7 million copies combined.
Group members have lately been immersed in a seemingly endless array of individual projects. Dirt McGirt is working on his first solo album since 1999's "Nigga Please," which will be the first in a new deal with Roc-A-Fella. RZA recently issued the solo set "Birth of a Prince" and contributed tracks to the "Kill Bill" soundtrack. In September, he said, "Our plan is to launch a whole new wave of Wu-Tang fever and ['Birth of a Prince'] is the wick."
Raekwon's upcoming offering, "The Lex Diamond Story," features guest shots from Wu members Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Cappadonna, while Meth and Ghostface's own solo album are penciled in for 2004 releases by Def Jam.
In related news, RZA was forced to cancel his fall North American tour this week due to lung problems. The dates are expected to be rescheduled in January and February.