No Country for Old (Rap) Men: The Curse of Wu-Fatigue

Wu-Tang forever? With a heavy heart, Robbie of Unkut explains why he doesn't think the Wu can bring the ruckus like they used to

Posted By Robbie Ettelson |

The shame I feel right now is overwhelming. Every single fibre of my being is screaming out in protest, yet I’m powerless to act. As the founder, president, prime minister and CEO of the Conservative Rap Coalition, it’s my sacred duty to uphold and protect all that is non-progressive and traditional in new rap music – but it’s time to face some difficult realities now that 2013 has arrived. The first and more troubling of these is the fact that I have lost complete interest in anything even vaguely connected to the Wu-Tang Clan…

Can it be that it was all so simple (wait a minute…)? Only a few years back the idea of a new Raekwon mixtape or Ghostface song would have been kinda a big deal to me. I can still recall scouring mixtapes for new Chef freestyles or unreleased Ghost gems as recently as 2009. But at some stage I just stopped caring. Perhaps it was the underwhelming Cuban Linx II that began the disenchantment? The Man With The Iron Fist soundtrack didn’t really move me, while I can’t recall a single track from Wu-Tang vs. Shaolin or Wu-Massacre. I was over Wu Block before I’d even reached the end of the album.

Where did it all go wrong? Rae and Ghost can still rap better than most people, but with the exception of Stark’s Apollo Kids, they seem to have fallen into the trap of just pumping out material for the sake of staying relevant and as an excuse to tour rather than crafting coherent long players. Admittedly, the same could be said for 85% of current MCs, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult to witness. The trend for announcing sequels to otherwise untouchable Wu-Tang classics is also disturbing. GZA has threatened to record Liquid Swords 2 with RZA at some stage, Cappadonna is planning The Pillage 2 while Shallah Raekwon has announced Cuban Linx III. So far, Ghost Deini has resisted any mention of Supreme Clientele 2.0, but it’s only a matter of time.

Back in 2010 I went to catch a live Raekwon show the same day that I first heard Roc Marciano’s Marcberg album (which, ironically, was an experience not unlike the first time I heard Only Built For Cuban Linx…). While I enjoyed witnessing the Chef perform his classics, it was clear that the Wu’s time had passed, and it was the sound of a bygone era. That’s not to say that I begrudge the crew releasing new music to grab the attention of new fans who might eventually discover the delights of the Wu’s Slang Technology and (hopefully) seek-out their outstanding back catalog, but after twenty years of being served up the same meal every other night, it’s time for this jaded old rap fan to move on and keep my recollections of the Wu from when they truly ruled the rap world. May the RZA forgive my mortal soul…

Keep up with Robbie’s weekly ‘No Country For Old (Rap) Men’ here.

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