Wu-Tang Clan mastermind RZA has dropped exciting knowledge about the pioneering rap group’s upcoming reunion LP, A Better Tomorrow. In a recent Billboard interview, the rapper-producer assured fans that “the entire 10 Clan members” (Wu affiliate Cappadonna is now a permanent member) will appear on the album, which he says will be released in time for the Black Friday shopping frenzy. In keeping with the group’s other forward-thinking release methods, A Better Tomorrow will also be available on a limited-edition, 3,000-copy run of a portable speaker dubbed Boombot Rex, which will feature eight album tracks, two non-LP instrumentals and the exclusive track “Big Horn B.” The Bluetooth-powered device features the group’s distinctive “W” logo.
“It’s a record to me that merges the way music was made in the classic essence, in an analog way,” RZA said of the release, “as well as merging what’s going down the digital way. . . And the album has a small concept in a sense: Musically, it travels from a guy who is going through difficulties, tries to find himself, gets involved with some violence, some troubles, but then realizes that it’s best sometimes to walk away from the past and all the bad times and maybe work on making his life better, and making a better tomorrow.”
The highly awaited LP, which marks Wu-Tang’s 20th anniversary, came to fruition in a unique way for RZA. He started working on music at his home studio in Los Angeles followed by the home of musical collaborator Adrian Younge, using “old Sixties equipment.” The producer then headed to Memphis, where he “recorded a lot of songs with the same guys who played on a lot of Isaac Hayes music and all the Stax, Hi, Willie Mitchell records.” RZA also recorded at various studios in Europe before he “brought it all the way back to 36 Chambers East, which is where we recorded most of Wu-Tang Forever.”
That elaborate process spanned multiple countries and 18 months. “So this record has traveled,” he says. “It’s been in different studios, different musicians have touched it.”
Teaming with portable speaker company Boombotix for the limited-edition Boombot Rex made sense to RZA since he values the intimacy and accessibility of a “tangible item, like your old Walkman or your old cassette, or your old record.”
Of course, RZA is known to treat albums like holy relics. Back in March, he revealed that Wu-Tang’s Cher-featuring “secret album,” the 31-track double LP The Wu – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, would be sold as a single copy to the highest bidder after touring the world’s museums, galleries and festivals.