As a rap crew, the Wu-Tang Clan has always been a notoriously chaotic and fractured entity, and no Wu-Tang member has been quicker to criticize crew mastermind RZA than Raekwon. When Wu-Tang released their last studio effort, 2007’s deeply underrated and commercially disappointing 8 Diagrams, Rae was the first person in the group to call out RZA’s psych-rap weirdo decision-making. In the meantime, RZA has gone public with how difficult it’s been to put together the new group album A Better Tomorrow, singling out Rae for being unwilling to contribute. And now Rae says that he’s going “on strike” from the group.
In a new Rolling Stone interview, Rae has choice words for RZA and especially for the attempted comeback single “Keep Watch“: “I hate it. 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.”
On A Better Tomorrow, Rae says: “The bottom line: I’m not happy with that. I’m not happy with the direction of the music and I’m not happy with how dudes is treating dudes’ business.”
He also alludes vaguely to money disputes: “It’s the same as being an athlete. I don’t give a fuck if it’s Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant. They will not touch the floor if their managers or lawyers are saying, ‘Listen, shit ain’t right.’ So therefore, I’m in a limbo situation. So yeah, you’re right. I am on strike. It ain’t the fact that I don’t want to be there. Because of course I want to be there. But if we’re there, we gotta do the best everything. We gotta work 10 times harder, because that’s what I’m signing in for. I’m not about listening to somebody that’s not an artist telling me what the fuck they think is hot. As far as the RZA, I respect him, I love him – the love ain’t gonna go anywhere – but you’re not in the music world no more. So to me, you need to take a backseat and respect the niggas that is playing the game. I’m always out in the field and finding out what’s going on with the new. Period.” There’s a lot more spleen-venting and uncertainty in the interview, and it’s a fascinating read. Check it out here.
And in other, very different Wu-Tang news, the vaguely Wu-affiliated rapper Christ Bearer, a former member of the duo Northstar, recently attempted suicide by jumping off a second-story balcony after cutting off his own penis. Wu-Tang has since denied any affiliation with him. As Gawker reports, a recent post on the Wu-Tang website claimed, “Parental Advisory : Don’t Believe The HYPE. This Mother Fucker Ain’t Got Shit to do with The WUTANG Brand.” The post has since been deleted.