Story by Ahmad Thomas / Contributing Writer
Wu-Tang Clan’s newest album, “The Saga Continues,” is a sturdy one. They opt not to echo the emerging trends of the new generation of hip-hop and instead remind their audience of what made them so revolutionary. The poetic energy and witty craftiness of this album are testaments to the longevity of the music they created when they first emerged.
The album’s pace is continuously pushing forward and is aided by short songs such as “Hood Go Bang!” and several skits sprinkled throughout the project. Despite the clear inspiration from the the crew’s original work, “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers),” every song remains relevant in the modern era of rap. RZA defers to DJ Mathematics for the production on the album, the first time in the group’s 24-year career.
While Wu-Tang stays true to their original style, the format in which they deliver fails to ignite new conversation. The project is stable and consistent and delivers a few lasting moments. However, holistically, it doesn’t do much more than follow a similar pattern that they’ve portrayed before. That isn’t to say that their quality has declined, but rather that their impact and musical approach have failed to innovate their own legacy or the legacy of the genre in general.
Songs such as “Why Why Why” are sonically appeasing, easily digestible on the surface and, with further inspection, carry the unique, sharp lyricism the group is known for. The album as a whole can be listened to relatively quickly despite several of the 18 songs measuring over four minutes.
The skits don’t propel a particular cohesive narrative (as it is not a concept album) but rather provide what could be considered a snippet of some of the themes “The Saga Continues” delves into. For example, “Family” is spoken from the perspective of a woman who has presumably dealt with the welfare system. She goes on to echo the emotions of impoverished African-Americans disadvantaged by their situation and compares the experience a rural Caucasian family would have in contrast to her own. The word skit is used relatively loosely. Meanwhile, “Saga” more closely resembles spoken word from RZA, but it once again echoes common themes from the album.
The consistency in conjunction with the quick transitions between songs and the reliable wittiness and flow fans have come to trust is appreciated, and yet fails to invigorate new audiences or shake the platform they revolutionized.
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