Album cover A Better Tomorrow - Wu-Tang Clan
A Better TomorrowWu-Tang Clan4/10

Wu-Tang Clan - A Better Tomorrow

18 Dec 2014 row1

My understanding is that the Wu's master plan was to release a killer album and then use that as a launching platform for everyone's solo albums, acting careers and whatnot. Due in part to the success of said plan, subsequent group albums have always felt unfocused, lacking unity and lackluster (although The W is an underrated exception). Raekwon decried A Better Tomorrow during early development You can’t do that with the hardest group in the game and it doesn't seem like lessons have been learnt from 8 Diagrams.

The biggest and most troubling aspect of the album is the abundance of horrible singing on the hooks. I can understand the train of thought, that, as the group gets older they want to go for a more mature sound and true fans will also mature and follow them. But releasing a track like 'Miracle' is taking it too far and true fans will call them on it. The song does portray a nice message and all that, but that cringe inducing hook If a miracle could save us from the travesty that we've become is terrible and musically it is schizophrenic going from harps to distorted beats and continuing on to other weird places. Remember those quasi Wu albums Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture volumes 1 & 2? Well the hook on 'Miracle', 'Wu-Tang Reunion' and the title track sound like they would belong on something from Wu-Tang Meets Disney Culture.

A family reunion,
Gonna have a family reunion ooh, ooh,
Family reunion,
It's so nice to come together,
To get together

Family Reunion

Hooks do somehow get worse when the RZA starts singing on the Dusty Springfield inspired 'Preacher's Daughter'. Seriously, there must be someone who said "RZA change the hook, and while you're at it, ditch the hoedown beat". Maybe this track was what Raekwon was referring to.

On a more supportive note, 'Ruckus in B Minor', 'Pioneer the Frontier' and perhaps 'Necklace' should please those stuck in the 1990s. The ODB samples doesn't feel forced and are done with enough restraint to make it sound like he is still part of the album and is just phoning in from jail again.

Even though the Wu-Tang clan has probably only released 1-2 great group albums and has misfired more often than not, they are still without a doubt, one of the greatest rap groups of all time. RZA's career has successfully expanded beyond rugged+raw rap, but that doesn't mean he needs to keep trying to reinvent the sound of the Wu-Tang Clan. It didn't work on previous attempts and it hasn't worked on A Better Tomorrow, an album which tries to do too much in too many different directions. Less is more.

Sardless Tracks

  • Ruckus in B Minor
  • Pioneer the Frontier

Track Listing

  1. Ruckus in B Minor
  2. Felt
  3. 40th Street Black / We Will Fight
  4. Mistaken Identity feat. Streetlife
  5. Hold the Heater
  6. Crushed Egos
  7. Keep Watch feat. Nathaniel
  8. Miracle
  9. Preachers Daughter
  10. Pioneer the Frontier
  11. Necklace
  12. Ron ONeal eat. Nathaniel
  13. A Better Tomorrow feat. Tekitha
  14. Never Let Go
  15. Wu-Tang Reunion