In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan released one of the most thundering and terrifying debuts in hip-hop history, Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers. For most of their career they’ve been trying to top this early success, most of the time to no avail. While the two most recent singles they’ve dropped, “Execution in Autumn” and “Family Reunion,” aren’t quit up to the level of their first album, they are still two great tracks, especially because of a reason demonstrated best by “Family Reunion”: this isn’t like the old Wu-Tang. No, these two songs, potentially the first songs off of their comeback album A Better Tomorrow, see Wu-Tang going in a different direction, one of positivity and love instead of suppressed rage.
What I think ultimately lead to Wu-Tang’s fall is that they kept trying to do the same thing over and over again. The group released good albums after their first, and plenty of great solo albums, nothing could beat the energy and passion of the original, so it’s obvious that they would try to replicate it. But evolution can be good. While “Family Reunion” does start off with what sounds like a classic Clan kung-fu sample, the song quickly transforms into a track that is so family-friendly it proves that Wu-Tang is really for the children. The beat is breezy and free, a perfect summer song. It’s not typical Wu-Tang, but I’m glad to see the group trying for something a little unexpected. The song’s happy, and I kinda dig that. It’s good to see them back together. Listen and download here.