7 Wu-Tang Things in 2014 Better than ‘A Better Tomorrow’

Lindsay Hood

By Lindsay Hood

on 12.04.14 in News

While the first Wu-Tang Clan album in seven years dropped this week, it’s safe to say that the promotion leading up to its release, and the ventures of the collective’s individual members, stood out more than the 16 tracks on A Better Tomorrow. Below are seven things that Wu-Tang did this year that were better than their latest record.

1. Ghostface Killah’s accompanying comic for 36 Seasons

The storyline for the 24-page comic book was written by Matthew Rosenberg, who also worked on the mini-series for 2013′s 12 Reasons to Die. Rosenberg told Comics Alliance, “[W]e made it more like a storybook. When I was little I had those read along books for Star Wars and The Muppets where you would play an album and look at the corresponding pictures. That is sort of what I wanted to do with this. Ghost tells the story and we provide a visual companion to take it to the next level.”

2. Newborn Twins Ghostface and Raekwon Lieberman

Dan Lieberman caused a flurry of disbelief when he posted the names of his newborn twins on Twitter.

Raekwon even reposted it to his Instagram account at one point with the hashtag #wu4thebabies. Sadly, Gawker eventually revealed that Lieberman was just pulling a clever prank. (Also worth noting, Raekwon is currently promoting solo projects via his social networks, but has yet to mention A Better Tomorrow.)

3. The Grantland profile

Earlier in the year, Amos Barshad followed the group’s members across the United States for an extensive profile that revealed Wu-Tang’s “lack of cohesion” despite their best efforts and RZA’s desire to keep them together. Barshad concluded, “If you ever find yourself grasping for a potent case history of the benefits of free-market competition, you could do worse than the Wu-Tang Clan. It was calculated internal engagement, and that competition made them sharper, hungrier, fiercer. It created and cultivated an unprecedented pool of talent. It drove them to their greatness. That they now lurch forward, a once-proud conglomerate gone to seed, might then only be right. The tenets of free-market capitalism birthed them. The allure of the free market splintered them to near smithereens.”

4. The Wu-Tang Once Upon a Time in Shaolin

It’s a double album, recorded in secret, that we might never get to hear. There’s only one copy in existence and, according to Forbes, it’s housed in a “silver-and-nickel box… handcrafted over the course of three months by British-Moroccan artist Yahya.” In the same interview, RZA and producer Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, revealed that they planned to take the album on a tour “through museums, galleries, festivals and the like. Just like a high-profile exhibit at a major institution, there will be a cost to attend, likely in the $30-$50 range. Visitors will go through heavy security to ensure that recording devices aren’t smuggled in; as an extra precaution, they’ll likely have to listen to the 128-minute album’s 31 songs on headphones provided by the venue.” Thus far, no such tour has been put into place.

5. GZA’s lecture about the Universe

In April, GZA stopped by Montreal to host a lecture at McGill University. The theme? “Consciousness, Creativity, Music, and the Origins of the Universe.” Later in the evening, he performed on campus as well. The lecture is in anticipation of his new solo album Dark Matter, which is now expected in the spring of 2015.

6. RZA’s role as Tremaine in the B-movie Brick Mansions

Before Paul Walker’s untimely death, he filmed one final movie. Brick Mansions is a remake of French film District B13 and none other than RZA stars as its villain. The Concourse provided the following commentary on RZA’s character: “Tremaine, we learn during one exposition-heavy dialog chunk, is a former military special-ops guy who went on to become an arms dealer and then a drug kingpin. He spends a good 20 percent of his screen time chopping up hot peppers.”

7. The Daily Show interview with John Stewart

We all got to watch Stewart freak out while putting one arm around Cappadonna and the other over Method Man’s shoulders when the entire group made an appearance on The Daily Show — even Raekwon. Apparently Ghostface Killah was late for his call time, but ended up making it. The group also gave Stewart an Ol’ Dirty Bastard tee shirt in memory of their lost member and debuted the first single off A Better Tomorrow, “Ron O’Neal.”