It's been seven years since the Wu-Tang Clan unleashed its landmark debut, "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)," which confirmed its claim as one of the most innovative (and one of the most surreal) musical collectives on the planet. Possessing nine distinct styles held together and complementing one another through Rza's ingenious production, the Wu furthered its mission on 1997's double-disc epic "Wu-Tang Forever," with each member's immediately recognizable persona only adding to the sum of the group's parts.
Innumerable solo projects later, the Wu-Tang Clan is regrouping for a full-force reunion, including a new album and a major upcoming tour. Sway, of the Bay Area's Sway & King Tech "Wake Up Show," recently spoke with the Rza, Inspectah Deck, Method Man, U-God, Gza, Ghostface Killa, Raekwon, Wu associates Cappadonna and Masta Killa in California, and MTV News was there to hear them touch on all topics, from the Rza's ambivalent feelings about Bing Crosby to a controversial newspaper article about a government informant within the group's inner circle (see "Wu-Tang Clan Manager Identified As Fed Informant"). As always, the Wu holds nothing back.
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Sway: You all have had a lot of solo successes, with Raekwon doing his thing, Ghost, Deck, we've got Gza putting albums out, Method Man -- what's it like, after you guys experience all that, to come back together?
Gza: It's a great feeling, man, to be able to drop solo albums and then come back and put the strength in there, but even more powerful. Now we're here to get the job done, the studio sessions bangin', the tracks are bangin', and everybody's just throwin' darts.
Sway: A lot of people call me and Tech during the show and ask, "What's up with the Wu, man? We haven't heard from 'em. They have a falling out?"
Method Man: The true blue Wu fans never left us. They've always been there, and they're gonna stay there. We're in the studio working on this new material, and we know we ain't gonna please everybody, but we know we got some shi** this time around. Word.
Rza: Hip-hop has grown since our last album, and when we first came out, it only had a few million listeners. Now the fan base in hip-hop is worldwide and very, very expanded, so it's enough room for a lot of different artists. But we got our own people out there, supporting us, know what I mean? I don't listen to too much metal or Bing Crosby and them cats, but they still sell millions of records, and they got their own fan base. Wu-Tang is a cultural thing, and the people that listen to us listen to us for a reason, not just to dance and shake their butts, but they listen to gain knowledge and also to get that feeling of nine or ten masters from the hood.
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