Wu Tang The Saga Continues eOne
First of all, don’t let the title confuse you – this isn’t a proper Wu-Tang Clan album. The Saga Continues is executively produced by RZA but “crafted” by Mathematics, the group’s tour DJ, occasional producer and creator of their iconic W logo, and it joins a long line of Wu-Tang compilation LPs where sparse input from the Clan’s core members is beefed up with appearances from eager and obscure affiliates. And even the most die hard fan would struggle to identify some of the names credited here. Who is R-Mean? For some reason there’s a rapper on here called Hue Hef? GZA, on the other hand, only appears on one track and U-God – who’s embroiled in a legal battle with the group once again – isn’t even on it.
To be fair to Mathematics, while his production never resonates like RZA’s finest work, the conservative simplicity of his formula – boom-bap beats with brass, strings and piano loops and the odd turntable scratch or swooshing samurai sword – puts the emcees in their comfort zone, which actually makes The Saga Continues a considerably more enjoyable listen than Wu-Tang Clan’s last official album, 2013’s overblown A Better Tomorrow. Method Man’s gravelly, melodic style is in good health on If Time Is Money (Fly Navigation) and G’d up, RZA spits a clunky but well-meaning verse about the struggle against white supremacy on Why Why Why? and Inspectah Deck proves he’s still capable of sharp wordplay (“the flow solitary, just me behind the bars”), swiftly throwing shade on the creep who’s recently dragged the Wu-Tang brand into unsavoury clickbait territory: “price hiking like the pills that Martin Shkreli sell”. It’s worth a few plays for Wu nerds, but let’s not approach The Saga Continues as a significant release.