It hasn’t been the best week for Wu-Tang. After Clan affiliate Andre Johnson unsuccessfully attempted to commit suicide in California, Raekwon spelled out controversy for the legendary rap collective in a fiery interview today with Rolling Stone. The co-founding MC said he was temporarily “on strike” from the group’s new album, A Better Tomorrow, criticizing RZA’s control over what he views as a “mediocre” production.
“RZA’s the type of dude where, in the 90s, he ruled,” he said. “Now it’s a new day. You’re not attached no more.” The Wu apostle and solo artist went on to liken the situation with the Clan’s de facto leader as “like being a coach and you won rings back in the day, but now your team is in ninth place. It’s time for a new fucking game plan.”
Later on, Rae had even harsher words for the album’s first single, “Keep Watch,” while paying dap to up-and-coming artists who may have been influenced by vintage Wu: “I hate that fuckin’ record… 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.”
Writer Jason Newman asked Raekwon to place the likelihood of his participation in the new album on a scale of one to 10 — he’s at a solid two right now. “It’s like climbing up a fuckin’ mountain if you got on slippers,” Rae added.
In November, RZA told Arsenio Hall that Raekwon was the sole reason A Better Tomorrow, the first Wu-Tang album since 2008’s Eight Diagrams, wasn’t yet out — that he was the only member who hadn’t recorded his verses and, as a result, the album blew past its planned July release date, which was meant to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
That said, RZA added, “We’ve got nothing but brotherly love for each other, but put some of the business to the side and let’s go make this music, yo.” He even joked to the crowd, “What are you trying to do, start beef?!”
In true Wu camaraderie, Raekwon also reiterated their friendship to RS. “As far as the RZA, I respect him, I love him — the love ain’t gonna go anywhere,” he said, reassuring readers that he would never, ever quit Wu-Tang. Luckily, for now, you can hear Raekwon on the collective’s other album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, if you somehow manage to find the one copy that’s floating around the world.