NEW YORK — Raekwon says when Wu-Tang Clan get onstage and pay tribute to ODB on their upcoming tour, it won't be a sorrowful affair. It'll be a celebration.
"You know how much he meant to us, to our family," Rae said Wednesday (January 11) about the Wu-Tang tour that runs through most of February. Plans were announced Tuesday for the trek, which starts February 7 in New Haven, Connecticut, at Toad's Place and concludes February 19 at Hard Rock Live in Orlando, Florida. Wu have dedicated the reunion to their fallen brother, who died a little over a year ago (see "Rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard Dies"). Some proceeds from the tour will be going to Dirty's family.
"We haven't seen people since all the stuff's been going on, so we figured we'd set up a tour," Rae said. "The staff got together and we was like, 'Yo, we need to all go out and show the people we're still one.' At the same time, this is in the honor of my beloved [friend]. We got to do it. It gives us an opportunity to ventilate and go through whatever we go through. It's like yo, we taking the family on a trip again and on the course of the trip, we get to talk to one another again."
The Clan performed together without Dirty prior to his death, but there was always the possibility he could pop up onstage at any time — even when he was a fugitive with multiple warrants out for his arrest (see "Performance By Fugitive ODB Stuns Wu-Tang Clan Crowd"). This time around, everyone will be aware Wu can never perform with him again.
"It's deep not having him there," Rae continued. "It's like yo, we gotta keep moving forward. He's there in spirit all the time, but at the same time, we gotta get onstage and do our job. This is a job right now; this is how we feed our families. At the end of the day, the show must go on. God forbid, if I wasn't here, I would always want my brothers to continue to do what they needed to do to be successful."
Last year the Clan got together with plans of recording another album (see "Wu-Tang Regroup For ODB Tribute Track, RZA Brings Pink The Grunge"), and although some songs were recorded, the project was not finished because of scheduling conflicts. Rae says he took a few of those records and might put them on his next solo LP, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, which is due in the spring or summer. Busta Rhymes and RZA are co-executive-producing the album, and Dr. Dre might produce as well. But so far RZA has the bulk of the beats on there. "RZA is on fire," Rae said.
Paradoxically, the Chef says he heard criticism about his last two albums, Immobilarity and The Lex Diamond Story, efforts on which he tried to convey more positive messages. So in turn, Rae is delving back to his long-dead hustling days and says Cuban Linx 2 will be told from the perspective of Raekwon the drug dealer.
"I'm in a business where I have to move with the times," he said. "I have to show and prove my maturity level has grown tremendously. Nobody's ever satisfied. At the end of the day, this album is gonna be the album dudes want. It ain't gonna be the album Rae felt he should have given. This is gonna be what y'all wanted. So when it comes how it comes, this is how y'all made me. The Purple Tape Part 2, this is serious to me." (Rae's first LP, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, was released as a purple-colored cassette.)
Wu-Tang Clan tour dates, according to Def Jam:
- 2/7 - New Haven, CT @ Toad's Place
- 2/8 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
- 2/9 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
- 2/10 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
- 2/11 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
- 2/12 - Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
- 2/13 - Washington DC @ 9:30 Club
- 2/14 - New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
- 2/17 - Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
- 2/18 - St. Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Landing
- 2/19 - Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live