So the legendary Wu-Tang Clan aren’t what they once were. Once you accept that, their new music will be far more palatable. Unfortunately, as Jeff Weiss eloquently lays out here, it is impossible to not compare the new with the old and to come to conclusions regarding the state of the group and its worth within your own personal life. That’s why I’m going to focus on BadBadNotGood instead. On the late side of 40, Rae, Ghost, U-God and Kool G Rap come as correct as you’d expect them to on a RZA/Quentin Tarantino project. I’ll leave it at that.
Back in April, I was lucky enough to see BadBadNotGood not once, not twice, but 6 or 7 (it’s a little murky) times at Coachella. The Toronto youngsters were the house band and performed warm up/cool down sets in the campground before and after the festival each day and to be honest with you, it was probably my favorite part of the festival. In just over a year, the trio has gone from unknown jazz/hip hop cover band to, and I might be off-base here, but the best/go-to live band in hip hop that is not named The Roots. They’ve covered everyone from James Blake to Waka Flocka and performed with Frank Ocean and Pharaoh Monch… just to name a few. Recently, BadBadNotGood have dipped their toes into the production pool… and when I say dipped their toes, I mean gone the fuck in with some of the most legendary MCs in history.
Continue after the jump…
Over this past weekend, I witnessed Wu-Tang Clan (minus Method and GZA) perform at Murs’ Paid Dues festival in sunny Southern California. Despite a quizzical set time (4 PM) for the headliners, the performance was easily one of the day’s best as RZA, Ghostface, Raekwon and company tore through hit after hit. RZA opened the festivities, bringing out each member of the Wu one by one before entering into a resoundingly fresh take on “Bring Da Ruckus.” It struck me as a little odd to see Robert Diggs on stage with the Wu (I haven’t seen them since back in ’07) as he has strayed from his Staten Island brethren in recent years, entering the film world and collaborating with several non-hip hop artists. Last year, he gave his take on Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros frontman Alexander’s “Truth,” which despite some poor mixing, was a decidedly cohesive performance. Since 2005, he has been a member of Achozen, a “space hip hop” group along with members of System of a Down and Killarmy. These creative forays away from the Killa Beez have been met with varied critical responses, but no one can blame the man for trying to break out of his comfort zone.
Today brings us another unforeseen collaboration, this time a remix with Portland psych rockers, Portugal. The Man. After a request from the band, RZA took on “All Your Light” from 2011’s In The Mountain In The Cloud, kicking some dirt on the original and infusing a little vintage broken beat. Unfortunately we don’t get a new verse from the Grandmaster, but what can you do? Stream and download the track below courtesy of The FADER.