Wu-Tang Clan A Better Tomorrow Warner Brothers
Internal-feuding is nothing new for the Wu-Tang Clan. In fact, the kind of drama that surrounded the group’s last album – 2007’s 8 Diagrams – is almost identical to what we’ve seen in the run up to A Better Tomorrow: Raekwon slams RZA’s production, RZA complains about Ghostface’s lack of attendance in the studio, Ghost drops a solo record within about a week of the Wu-Tang album release, and so on. It’s all pretty disheartening.
But, in hindsight, 8 Diagrams wasn’t such a disaster, and despite a total absence of bangers, the record was salvaged by Method Man, Raekwon and Ghostface’s inspired verses. A Better Tomorrow, on the other hand, suffers from certain members’ audible reluctance, and most of the tracks are disproportionately dominated by Wu-Tang’s more eager B-team – U-God, Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck and Cappadonna.
But let’s not forget that these are the men responsible for some of the best hip-hop music ever recorded, and for Wu-Tang obsessives, the more restrained tracks might provide a similar appeal to the lyric-focused, hookless deep cuts on ’97 double album Wu-Tang Forever. But for the most part, RZA’s attempts to play on the group’s epic mythology – the sloppy posse cut Ruckus In B Minor, the schmaltzy chorus of Wu-Tang Reunion – fall flat. And considering the context, it’s hard to be convinced by A Better Tomorrow’s overtly sentimental theme.