Wu-Tang Clan - "Keep Watch"

The saga of the forthcoming Wu-Tang Clan reunion record A Better Tomorrow has been a long and sad one. RZA has spoken openly about the difficulty of getting all nine members back together and on the same page and about his disappointment that it wasn’t ready in time for the 20th anniversary of the group’s world-changing debut Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). For a while there, it looked like the album would never come out. But last night, we got a new single from the Wu, and now we’re hearing that the album is done, that it’s already up for pre-order. But “Keep Watch,” that first single, is far from peak-capacity Wu-Tang. It’s great to hear Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, and GZA all on one track at the same time, and they all get off some nice lines. (Deck rapping in French!) But the beat, from longtime Wu DJ Mathematics, is a bit antiseptic and low-energy, and the R&B hook, from singer Nathaniel, feels entirely unnecessary. If this is the best first track they can offer from A Better Tomorrow, maybe we should keep expectations low. But you can make up your own mind about it; the song is below.

The “Keep Watch” single is up for sale now.

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Comments (11)
  1. Shut up, Tom. This bangs.

  2. So this is underwhelming but the new YG album is a “stunning achievement”? I sometimes have trouble with the whole hype thing, so now I know.

  3. If someone wants to write an argument for why this is a classic Wu-banger, I will listen. I wrote like 2000 words articulating my position on that YG album. As it stands, I like every song on 8 Diagrams better than this. (8 Diagrams is deeply, deeply underrated.)

    • Never mad at new Wu. Keep Polarizing, son.

      You really make an assumption on an entire project on your view of the first offering being a less than stellar track in your opinion?

      Since when has Wu ever been predictable? Stereogum gossip page writing.

    • Without reading the YG article, I already know it’s bad. Come on man, YG is horrible, and now you gonna knock this track? That’s why I don’t pay any attention to shit you guys say about hip-hop on this site, when it’s so obvious how little you get it..

    • oh man i got to the end of the paragraph “If you care about rap music, it’s instantly essential.” and had to stop.

  4. Agree with this writeup. Forgettable (if not irritating) beat. Awful hook. None of the verses are bad but they don’t stand out enough to make up for the overall generic sound. The most interesting part of the song was getting a hint at what GZA might sound like on Dark Matter. Hearing him rap with a science theme wasn’t as awkward as I was afraid of, but this verse didn’t have much of a spark either IMO. Favorite verse is definitely Cappadonna’s.

  5. This doesn’t have to be an all-time “classic Wu-banger” to be a great track. If you’re going to automatically compare this to ’36 Chambers’ or ‘Liquid Swords’ or ‘OB4CL’ of course it’s not going to measure up. But it’s three of the best from the Wu going in over a nice clattering soul beat. The hook is an afterthought sure, but it doesn’t drag on for long.

  6. This is really mild to me, the worst is actually the Deck rap in french you mention, its terrible “muy caliente je m’appelle rebel capice comprende” seiously?! The other are on point though

  7. Like the few of you defending this song/ denigrating this write-up, I love Wu-Tang from 36 chambers to 8 diagrams… this song is SO bad though. The article could be seen as a lil sassy, but it’s pretty hard to argue with.

    It is crazy though how hype works both ways; if this was the weak lead single off of some newly-anointed young Compton rapper’s highly anticipated upcoming LP, I don’t think fans would be so defensive of the artist and critical of the journalist for “pre-judging” the quality of the album. But at the same time… would the journalist ever really BE critical of the first single from the hype-machine’s newest golden child?

  8. Probably no one is still looking at this page, but Tom has some good support for his opinion: Raekwon.

    “I hate it. I don’t hate shit, but I hate that fuckin’ record. It ain’t the gunpowder that my brothers are spitting. It’s the production. And I ain’t shitting on the producer because he’s one of our soldiers. But if it ain’t where it need to be… It’s 20 years later. We talkin ’bout a whole new generation is sitting here representin’ and making fiery shit and you telling me that we comin out with some mediocre shit? That ain’t part of our plan.”

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