I haven't exactly been shy about my love for the Wu-Tang Clan. For my money there hasn't been a better rap-group to come up. Everything is there in the group, larger-than-life personalities like ODB. Classic rappity rappers in the way of GZA and Raekwon. Frenetic madmen a la Ghostface Killah. A blunted MC in Method Man who can never shake a cartoonish grin. And then there's a bench of the "second-tier" teammates who rarely drop the ball when they get called up. Uniting it all is the singular, uncompromising vision of RZA. While he's justly received his fair share of flack in recent years for being a hip-hop autocrat, without that focused power the Wu would've never been the Wu.
Even if the Wu had never climbed to those lofty heights, "Keep Watch", the first track off of the forthcoming A Better Tomorrow would be worth celebrating. It's not on the same level as storied entries into the anthology like Enter the Wu-Tang, Liquid Swords, or Only Built for Cuban Linx but it doesn't need to be. Everyone here is hyperfocused in their approach and effortlessly bounces off each other; a small miracle considering it's been nearly seven years since their last group LP dropped. Meth's verse kicks off the "instrumental killing spree" as he goes off the muzzle like a rabid dog and devours anyone who dare label him "washed up." Inspectah Deck follows suit and blitzes the circular guitar riff and loping soul vocal (courtesy of Mathematics) with the intensity of Justin Tuck. Cappadonna renders any arguments about his place in Wu-Tang Clan proper irrelevant from the word go. "I'm a project n**** I don't care about the Benz," he chest puffs, reminding everyone of the grime the Clan originally came coated in. And after three rounds of brawn, comes the ultimate in brain. GZA indulges his inner astrophysicist to talk radiating heat and solar clouds. Midway through he lectures "balance on all sides, it’s such great symmetry," perfectly surmising why the W has remained so successful after 20 years. They're balanced and anyone who dares test them will be left kicking rocks.
“Keep Watch” is available for download now.