After a storming set at this year’s Bestival, U-God of Wu-Tang Clan tells Louder Than War what the future holds in store for the crew and also fills us in on what he thinks about the current hip-hop scene.
Twenty years after the release of the groundbreaking Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers), rap titans Wu-Tang Clan have made 2013 their homage to the past and by the looks of the title of their upcoming sixth studio album, A Better Tomorrow, it would seem they’re ready to move on.
A bottle of champagne flies open as a relaxed and smiling Lamont Hawkins, better known as Wu-Tang Clan’s U-God, sits back in his dressing room. He’s just finished a pounding set on Bestival’s Main Stage, albeit one few missing band members.
“Hey, some of us couldn’t get through customs, so we tried our best, you know?” he says and considering the somewhat notorious reputation of the group maybe this is to be expected despite the fact that they’re now openly deemed to be hip-hop legends. U-God has been noticing that younger crowds latch onto the band:
“I really feel like, as time goes on, people catch onto our stuff and we do get a much younger crowd now” he nods, before pointing out how he was more than a little impressed with the amount of pubescent faces in the front row.
One thing he’s not as impressed with though was Bestival’s crowd reaction:
“I had an awesome time but the energy, I’m sorry to say, well, we’ve had better responses elsewhere. I understand we weren’t at as full a capacity as we could’ve been but when the time comes we can come back and really give it to them. That’d then be a closed chapter” he shrugs.
A closed chapter for what exactly?
“Well, where are we again?” he asks. (That’d be the Isle Of Wight). “Yes closed chapter for the Isle Of Wight … with the whole team” he adds.
Talk of closed chapters has been rife around Wu-Tang Clan this year with whispers of a sixth studio album from the group. U-God is less direct about the whole thing:
“We put a lot of records out” he states, simply. “The new album got pushed back. I put out a record: Ghost(face Killah) put out a record: we’ve got two compliations this year: we’re continuously putting out new records to extend our catalogue, you know? That’s basically what we do”.
So no biggie then?
In a era of big rap ego’s U-God seems the complete opposite, stating simple facts and shrugging off anything that could be seen as a major achievement. When asked who his current rap favourites are he reels off a list of the to-be-expected names:
“I’m feeling a lot of people man, I like Drake, 2Chainz, I like Kanye, Jay-Z, I like my old school brothers like Nas”.
And of course, there is that other up and coming rap collective who seem to be causing shock waves left, right and centre. With intrigue, I ask U-God what he thinks of Odd Future:
“Oh, I love Odd Future!” he exclaims. “(As a) matter of fact, I’m going on tour with one of the little guys, doing about 15 / 16 gigs, just me and him”.
It seems U-God is most passionate when he’s talking about the nitty gritty details of music. No matter what rap superstar rides the charts, U-God still feels a sentimental chunk has been removed from the current music scene:
“That’s what’s missing in hip-hop. Like, the feeling of the action, you wanna cry, you wanna feel joyful, you might wanna fuck somebody up… I feel like that’s what’s missing in music”.
Hopefully not if A Better Tomorrow has anything to do with it.
U-God released an album on his early a few months ago. Titled The Keynote Speaker it can be bought via the Amazon widget on the right.
All words by Harley Cassidy. You can read more from Harley on LTW here.