The Singles Party: Wu-Tang Clan, ‘Ron O’Neal’

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On some weeks it is incredibly hard to decide what track we should review. Other weeks the Wu-Tang Clan appear on The Daily Show and release a new song. After weeks of disappointing tracks from the likes of Slipknot and Hilary Duff (the first time those two have ever been mentioned in the same sentence), we were excited to listen to new music from RZAGZAMethod ManRaekwonGhostface KillahInspectah DeckU-GodMasta Killa, and Cappadonna. 

Nick Porcaro: Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin ta fuck wit. So why does group leader, producer and rapper The RZA insist on softening their sound? “Ron O’Neal” is a pleasant enough listen, featuring a laid-back soul groove that especially fits Ghostface Killah like a glove, and everyone else comes through with solid verses. But the magic is missing. The beat could be grimier, the performances more enthusiastic. The passion of the Wu has long since depleted, and it seems as if A Better Tomorrow will be one more forgettable entry in a scattershot discography. What could have been…Verdict: One and Done.

Lucas P. Jones: I’ll be honest; I have never listened to a Wu-Tang Clan song in my entire life. It’s just never been my thing. But i will admit, this song is awesome. It flows, it grooves, and I love the rhythm between the bass and drums. It has an old school feel that i can really get behind. I also really appreciate the lyrics, because I’ve been subjected to a ton of rap music where the lyrics are nothing but curses, derogatory phrases, and rhymes that are questionable at best. These were mostly clean, with “harsher” words added in the right spots for emphasis. I dig it. Verdict: Add to Playlist

Erica Batchelor: I was very indifferent about hearing a new track from Wu Tang Clan since I’m not really partial to the genre; however, I would say I was pleasantly surprised to admit I liked it. To clarify, this means I actually hit the repeat button several times. The song brought back an old school feel and the catchy hook kept the flow of the song. Overall, I’d say it’s a pretty solid new track. Verdict: Add to Playlist

Justin Matchick: Wu- Tang Clan offers an incredibly enjoyable track for its first single in what seems like forever. An endlessly listenable hook along with verses from all your favorites from Wu Tang makes for a welcome return of the most legendary rap collective in history. A decade removed from the death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the band has adapted well to losing one of the most significant voices of the group. “Ron O’Neal” doesn’t have the hardcore edge which defined their first few albums, with most of the members settling in to a more mature lyrical style over their more violent lyrics of the past. Still, nobody has lost their flow, style, or wit, and manage to avoid the trappings that have befallen hip hop acts that have attempted late comebacks before. But even with the track being slightly lighter than the classic Wu-Tang fare, it manages to have drawn me in enough that I could not stop pressing play again immediately after the song had ended. Wu-Tang Forever. Verdict: Add to Playlist

Al Mannarino:

Growing up I never really listened to the Wu-Tang Clan. After hearing their latest track and watching their performance on The Daily Show, I can honestly say that it seems like they haven’t missed a beat since they began their career in the 90’s. With all of this terrible new rap that is plaguing the radio, I am a fan of 90’s rap making a much needed comeback. I would definitely give ‘Ron O’Neal’ a listen and I hope a new album is on the horizon. Verdict: Add to Playlist.

Final Verdict: “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit,’ so add their latest track to your playlist. 

 

Al Mannarino is the associate editor and photographer for Pop Break. He is also host of the News Over Brews Podcast, Loot Care Unboxed, Backstage Break, and the producer of Behind the Brews. He graduated Rowan University with a degree in Radio/TV/Film & History. When he isn’t writing he is either trying to build his own TARDIS or taking a nap. Follow him on Twitter: @almannarino. His photo website is: http://alfredmannarino.com

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