In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan released, what many would consider to be, one of the greatest albums in hip-hop history. Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers made superstars out of the nine member squad from Shaolin as well as changed the face of the music game – from a behind the scenes business standpoint. Their subsequent releases, such as Wu-Tang Forever, only solidified their legacy as did the massive catalogue that includes solo spin-offs, affiliates and so on.
But that was then, this is now. The question that is on everyone’s mind – in a digital age where trap and pop reign supreme – is whether Wu-Tang Clan can still be both relevant and fresh. Whether a new generation will ever truly appreciate the magic that the first album cast on the golden era remains to be seen, but for their core audience that have grown with them, the rumors of a new album have only excited us; however talks of in-fighting and issues surrounding money had seemingly derailed reunion plans.
That was until RZA announced what every fan wanted to hear – the project was on. To top it off, he dropped on us what could possibly be the most brilliant marketing strategy ever. A one-off album that would be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The rest of us would have to settle for special guarded listening sessions during a proposed museum tour. This creates an almost “holy grail” effect, especially since RZA himself proclaimed this to be probably the best material you’ve heard from the clan since their classic debut. Hard to argue with this 51 second snippet.
This new concept, as RZA puts it places value on the music as though it were a piece of art. This is something that the music industry is sorely lacking. Could this bold new direction save hip-hop (assuming you feel it needs saving)? At the very least it will surely pressure artists to be more creative with they marketing strategies.
Seeing as how I don’t have 5 million laying around, I’ll have to line up for a copy of A Better Tomorrow – the clan’s upcoming public release – when it drops. Clan in the front!