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“Wu Tang Clan: The Saga Continues”: A stain on the Wu-Tang name

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When Wu-Tang Clan released “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 chambers)” in 1993, they shocked the world. With Method Man’s rhymes, RZA’s beats, and ODB’s flow, it sounded like nothing anyone had heard before. It was incredible, and took hip hop to the next level, and people loved it. Now, with Wu-Tang releasing new music, they’re pressured to live up to the Hip Hop community’s high standards, and to the Wu-Tang name. A couple weeks ago, Wu-Tang released their new album, “The Saga Continues.”

You’d expect the internet and the rap community to blow up over a major artist releasing a new tape, but “The Saga Continues” was largely ignored. After listening to the album, I could tell why.

Although there is the occasional old martial arts sound effect, it sounds like a completely different group of rap artists. Tang’s famous originality went unheard throughout the tape, turning it into just another generic forgettable hip hop album. The tape struck me as being rushed, like the group had to make a week deadline after they started. Another thing that disappointed me was that the album was produced to sound more like the style of rap today. Instead of the well known hard bass lines and classic kick and snare beats that Wu-Tang fans are used to, the instrumentals were replaced with bubbly offbeat bass lines and poor piano riffs.

Produced almost entirely by mathematics, the beats are repetitive and boring, making listening to the songs feel like you’re chewing through a raw piece of steak. No matter how solid the vocals are, a bad beat can desecrate a song. Here the lyrics are lazily put together, and the vocals are performed by lousy club singers that were picked out of soundcloud like slips of paper in a hat.

The only parts worth listening to on the album were performed by original members such as Method Man and Ghostface Killah. Even those were ruined by Redman, who, by the way, gets more airtime than six living members combined. Without U-God and ODB, it seems like the Wu-Tang Clan has fallen apart.

One of the reasons that 1993’s “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” was such a critically acclaimed album was that the lyrics were so incredibly brutal. Wu-Tang didn’t care what other people thought, and made a tape that sounded like nothing ever before. In “The Saga Continues,” the remaining members created a tape to live up to the Wu-Tang name. They wrote the lyrics and created the beats to fit in with a type, instead of creating something new.

I would not recommend this album, especially to the long-time Wu-Tang fans. The tape is sloppily put together, rushed, and taints the Wu-Tang name.

 

Editor’s Note: The New York Times Learning Network recognized this story and one other review by Lincoln’s Intro to Mass Communications students among its top reviews of 2017 in its annual Student Review Contest. Among the 1,494 entries, sophomore Evan Reynolds’ review of the film Battle of the Sexes in the top ten, and freshman Archie Barnes placed in the top 25 with his take on Wu-Tang Clan’s new album, “The Saga Continues.” Reynolds’ review was posted on the New York Times website.

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