Wu-Tang Clan is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its landmark debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), this year by playing the album in its entirety — and creating new music.
Group members tell Billboard that Ghostface Killa is helming a new Wu-Tang album, the group’s sixth overall and the follow-up to last year’s The Saga Continues. “He’s putting that together as we speak,” Masta Killa says. “There will be another Wu-Tang Clan album. We’re working on that right now, and hopefully it’s ready right with the 25th anniversary.”
Inspectah Deck confirms that Wu-Tang majordomo RZA is “supervising it” but that Ghostface Killa “is at the wheel,” which has provided some new direction for the New York area collective. “He just gives it a new outlook and a fresh coat of eyes and ears,” Deck says. “Ghost has taken it upon himself to say, ‘I want to get the beats, I want to hear some things that’s happening here,’ so we’re trusting him the same we trusted RZA in the beginning. Why not, man? Ghost has been successful in his solo endeavors. It’s a change of pace. Hopefully we get another banger, another Wu classic out of this project as well, in the 25th anniversary.”
The project is still in its early stages; GZA says, “I’m just getting my notes together for when it’s time to hit the studio. It’s all new to me.” But Deck predicts that the result will likely be something different than Wu-Tang has ever released before. “RZA’s a deep thinker. His subject matter ranges, I think, broader than all of ours,” Deck says. “Ghost is definitely a soulful type brother and has a deep consciousness, but he’s more direct to what Wu-Tang is. Wu-Tang was beats and rhymes. Ghost picks the harder beats. He has songs like ‘Camay,’ so he’s not gonna skip the women. There’s going to be a lot more variety of harder stuff. RZA comes up with deep concepts, but Ghost brings it just a little bit harder.”
Wu-Tang returns to the road for Memorial Day weekend for a pair of Enter the Wu-Tang anniversary dates, on May 27 at the Soundset Music Festival in St. Paul, Minnesota, and on May 28 to close the Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit. The plan is to play the album in its entirety at both. Masta Killa says the time since debut “feels more like 25 minutes, but it’s been a beautiful 25 minutes. Where did the time go? It was, like, ’92, and here we are with a blessed opportunity. We started in 1992, 1993, and here we are again, together, to come back and celebrate this.” All of the Wu-Tang hands, meanwhile, are united in the belief that the album holds up as a contemporary piece as well as it does an iconic work.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve done [the whole album], since the early 2000s, maybe,” Deck says. “It’s 25 years, man, and we stood the test of time and we’re still proving ourselves — and people still appreciate you like that, which is dope. So it’s gonna be fun. We’re definitely gonna give you the business, ’cause that’s what Wu-Tang does. We get up there and keep the essence of hip-hop alive. We made our music just to be a voice for the voiceless, and that’s what we continue to be 25 years later, so when we get up there, don’t expect a lot of Cristal popping. When you come to our show, you want some food for thought, and we’ve got our aprons on.”