Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Oddly enough, I just watched the movie Shaolin & Wu-Tang (the 1981 kung fu flick that this song and Raekwon's next album are named after - and the origin of all the dialogue and fight scene samples in the song) last week. I've been on a bit of a kung fu kick recently (no pun intended) and have been flying through the classics (pun intended that time).

Honestly though, as much as I love the Wu-Tang clan, in the old movies I have to put my money on the Shaolin - they have all the badass techniques with every weapon you could imagine (plus weapons they invent, plus hand-to-hand combat) while the Wu-Tang only ever use the Wu-Tang sword style. Those dudes are always screwed when somebody's able to knock the sword out of their hand.

Check out the new track here and keep reading below for information regarding the album. (And be sure to catch the first single from the album, "Butter Knives", HERE if you haven't already.)


Anyway, that being said, I was stoked to hear the latest from Rae's new project. Glad to hear him still going strong on his 5th album. HOWEVER, I have a quick issue with the tracks that have dropped so far. Despite Rae's insistence that he's returning to his pre-Wu roots, this production style is clearly RZA's (not just the movie sample usage, but also the loop choice and drums), but Bobby Diggs was purposefully left out of the process on this album.

After a quasi-falling out with RZA when a previously planned new Wu-Tang group album (8 Diagrams - named after another kung fu classic) fell through a few years back, Raekwon started making plans for Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang and had this to say:
"RZA doesn’t have to be on every album. I wanted to give some other producers a chance. It’s not about beef. We can stand on our own."
There's definitely nothing wrong with Chef wanting to branch out on his own without RZA, but it's obviously not about using other producers or getting a different sound. Although it's true that it's not about beef - they've been working with each other since that happening (see: BlakRoc & Travis Barker's Give the Drummer Some).

If I had to guess, after 8 Diagrams wasn't panning out to be what he expected, Rae decided it was time to re-establish his name as a solo artist. Only Built for Cuban Linx II put him firmly back on the Radar, but he probably felt that if he didn't get away from RZA now, he was never going to escape his shadow. (Even though most will agree that Wu-Tang wouldn't even exist in its current form without RZA and certainly would never have reached as high a peak on the hip-hop charts.)

Fueds aside, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang is shaping out to be a solid album. Features are set to include Wu-Tang favorites Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, GZA, Method Man, Raheem DeVaughn, plus Black Thought, Jim Jones, Rick Ross and Nas. Look for it March 8, 2011.
I always give RZA that support as far as saying he brought Wu-Tang to the table. It was his philosophy. He picked certain dudes to be part of this group, and he said, “This is what it’s going to be called.” Before that, I was on the block. I was living in Shaolin. So this album just shows the street side of me, challenging the great side of Wu-Tang... You’re going to get sounds that relate to Wu-Tang. You’re going to get sounds that relate to great Rae at his best shit, too.
-Raekwon
Peace.
-Mike-

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