WU-TANG CLAN People Say gets 6.5/10

Wu-Tang Clan feat. Redman
People Say
36 Chambers

6.5/10

Listening to this track made me think about what makes a Wu-Tang song a Wu-Tang song. The most obvious example is samples of dubbed Chinese Kung-Fu flicks. They instantly scream Wu-Tang. People Say ticks that box, opening and closing with those classic sounding samples.

RZA’s production would be the next thing that gives that Wu-Tang sound. People Say is produced by Mathematics, long time Wu collaborator and producer. He has the sound, but his production has often seemed a little more polished and less rugged than RZA’s. As is the case here, the hypnotic beat, the piano loop, and the soulful hook (the latter two lifted from The Diplomats I’ve Got The Kinda Love) sounding in that Wu pocket, but a little too clean.

But what I realised listening to People Say is that it’s the rappers that can instantly make a Wu-Tang track sound like Wu-Tang. Meth comes in, laid back and rapping about how he used to trap. Rae spits his coke cooking, flyer than you shit. Frequent guest Redman drops in next, still sounding hungry and giving the track a bit of the ruggedness that so far has been missing.

It’s when Inspectah Deck and Masta Killa close out the track that this sounds most like Wu-Tang. Meth, Raekwon, Ghostface, GZA and RZA have huge solo albums or careers, whereas the less ubiquitous members, Masta Killa, Inspectah and Cappadonna are only really heard on Wu-Tang albums. When MK and Deck appear the song suddenly sounds like a Wu-Tang song. It caught me off guard.

The track itself is fine. I found myself nodding along, wishing it was late and I was in my car, cruising along. People Say is lifted from Wu-Tang’s album coming out October 13, Wu-Tang: The Saga Continues, produced by Mathematics and featuring vocals from Wu members and alum. It’s cool to hear new Wu, but without RZA on the desk it’s hard to get too excited.

NEIL SOLACE

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