Wu-Tang Clan Go Back To Basics For Latest Album

The MCs of Wu-Tang Clan don't have the same harmony as roommates as they do with their rhymes.

That's what they discovered when they holed up in a Los Angeles house together to begin work on their third album, The W.

"Can you imagine, like, 10 of us going to the supermarket and shopping?" GZA said recently. "The bugged-out part about it is instead of all us collaborating like how we do with our rhymes, everyone does their own thing in the supermarket, and by the time we get back to the bus, we have 12 loaves of bread. And there's no room to put sh--."

The W arrives in stores Tuesday and is the Staten Island, New York, group's first release of new material in more than three years. Most of the Clansmen spent the time since 1997's double-disc set Wu-Tang Forever recording and promoting solo and side projects.

The guys said they deliberately steered in the opposite direction of popular hip-hop and reverted back to the

basics this time around, using their 1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, as their touchstone.

"We had to sit back and listen to the radio," Inspectah Deck said. "It's going out of control now — it's real technotronic. We want to put the gravy back into it, the soul food back into it."

"We just sayin, 'Yo, the era of the real live hip-hop is back,' " he said. "They about to bear witness to a change, and the whole change is gonna come from [breaking] through the illusion. It's not all about the money, the cars, the jewelry, the fame. ... We're taking it back to the essence of hip-hop, just beats and rhymes."

ODB does turn up via previously recorded rhymes on the menacing "Conditioner," also featuring Snoop. Another Dirty track was pulled from the album after the rest of Wu deemed it "too crazy," RZA said.

"He understood that we could not wait for him [to finish his legal obligations],"

RZA said. "But at the same time, he got a great representation on the album. And we told him 'Yo, if you stay focused on what you doing and you get outta there ... we'll drop another [album] soon." [RealVideo]

For a full-length interview with the Wu, check out the MTV News feature "Wu-Tang Clan: United They Stand."