From what I've heard I wasn't impressed. There was nothing wrong with the rapping, but the beats were kind of disappointing. The 20th Anniversary album just shouldn't happen. It's going to be way worse than 8 Diagrams. Take the time or just don't make it.
? u heard anything from "a better tomorrow" ?
anything else than "fam. reunion"?
U-God Calls "Keynote Speaker" What Fans Want & Says A Few Wu Members Are Disgruntled
Exclusive: U-God opens up about his life, including hardships, great times and says he has an "untold story" that will appear on "Keynote Speaker" and a new book he's writing.
With a group of nine members, itís hard for any one to stand out. If anyoneís listened to Wu-Tang Clan for any period of time, they know the guy with the low-sounding voice is U-God, and his rhymes are always short and straight to the point. One could make the same conclusions about his beliefs. The Shaolin (Staten Island) native has always been one to give his honest opinion about any topic, controversial or not.
Talking with HipHopDX recently, the Universal God opened up about his hardships and how those will all be revealed soon. He also states that his upcoming fourth studio album, Keynote Speaker is the culmination of his whole musical body and could be his most complete solo album to date.
ďI feel like Keynote Speaker is the master booth heart of work that Iíve put out right now,Ē he said. ďIf you liked [Golden Arms Redemption], you definitely going to like Keynote Speaker.Ē
When asked about what the current vibe is like in Wu-Tang Clan, U-God said that a few members are ďdisgruntledĒ and that he doesnít like to get ďemotionalĒ about things that happen between men.
ďYouíve got a few that are disgruntled and you canítÖ Me personally, B, Iím gonna tell you the truth man. I canít be worried about all that man,Ē U-God said. ďI come from an eraóif you canít get up and do it, somebody else is going to do it for you bruh. So Iím not going to kick and scream about nothing.
From the days of Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers to now, U-God has changed a lot.
ďI feel like I knew everything back then,Ē U-God proclaims as one of Shaolinís nine swordsmen recalls his journey from being a young kid getting ďbulliedĒ to a Staten Island legend.
U-God Explains His Growth Since ďDopiumĒ
HipHopDX: Whatís been up with U-God recently maybe not even musically?
U-God: Well, Iím just kind of putting my credit togetherÖfamily issues. My son graduated from college and things like that. Iím just trying to get a grasp of where Iím at in life, what Iím going to be doing in the next some odd years and trying to figure out what direction Iím headed to.
DX: Keynote Speaker is next up for you later this month. This is your first album since Dopium. What can fans expect from you on this one?
U-God: Oh, this is fire! I tried to step it up a notch every time I put out a new record, and this one is like a brand new baby, man. It has legs, and itís going to stand up on its own. Itís really deep, and itís really good, manómore or less, Iím just happy with it. If you want good, Hood Rap rhymes, itís on thereÖbanging beats and Wu-sounding shit is on there. Iíve got Method Man, Deck, GZA and my man Jackpot on there. Iíve got RZA production on there; he executive produced it. Iíve got mashed potatoes and gravy, Styles P on there. Itís all in thereÖgood money.
DX: Yeah Styles P is always one of those guys whoís affiliated with Wu-Tang, and also obviously the other members. Youíve always been one of those guys that have put out solid solo music, even Dopium was great. What is the difference between something that weíre used to like a Dopium or even 8 Diagrams and whatís coming with Keynote Speaker?
U-God: Well, with Dopium, Iím going to let them do the publicity on that record. I just threw it out there. I kind ofóI was going through a time where I didnít know where to goóand I was trying to feel it out. I have so much music in my corner or in my circle, and at that time I didnít know where to go. What I did was, when I put out Dopium, it kind of gave me a foundation of where to go, and thatís what I put on Keynote Speaker. Itís like, ďOK, I finally know what my fans want from me.Ē
I canít do what somebody else is doing. I can only do what the fans want from me, which is hard-body rhymes and raw shit. I didnít put any club bangers on this one. As a matter fact, I think I might have one, but I didnít make it like, ďThis is a club banger.Ē I didnít make it like that. I just do what I do. Now I know exactly what they want from me, and I gave it to Ďem with this Keynote Speaker. Thatís why I called it Keynote Speaker, because Iím stepping to the podium, and Iím giving you a speech. You know how President Obama goes to the podium? Keynote Speaker, thatís what Iím doing. Thatís basically what itís about.
DX: You recently released the song for ďHeads Up,Ē which features GZA and Jackpot. Is this the kind of tone and feel weíre going to be getting from the album, and how did this one specifically come together?
U-God: Well, I canít say that ďHeads UpĒ is the tone, because that tone is for Wu-Tang fans; thatís what they wanted. They want that raw, hardcore, and I know what they want. My last record confirms about what they wanted, and all Iím doing is giving them what they want. That track came together because I heard the beat, and I was like, ďWow thatís an awesome fucking beat.Ē Jackpot Scott Rock is a godfather of Park Hill where I came from. So I had to go get him, because heís a certified street legend when it comes to rhyming. I get him, and I already know when Genius rhymingóhe and Genius used to rhyme together back in the dayóso Iím kind of like the Oreo cookie. Iím in between the middle of the greats.
Itís the monument of it, because Jackpot made up rhymes when we was kids. We was nine or 10 years old, and we was looking up to Jackpot. He was one of the other prophets on Staten Island at the time, and he disappeared and came back years later. I ainít seen him in years, and when I ran into him, I wanted to see if he still had it. And sure enough, this motherfucker still got it; he didnít lose one motherfucking step. As a matter of fact, he got 10 times better, so itís like his wordplay is phenomenal. Sometimes I be blown the fuck away like, ďHow the fuck do you think of that?Ē Youíll seeóweíre working on some stuff. He got this record where heís basically saying that time doesnít matter to him. He can comment whenever he wants to comment, and heís just so dope like that. And you already know what Genius going to do with it, so itís all good man; itís a good combination.
U-God On His Dealings With RZA & Disgruntled Wu Members
DX: Speaking of the Wu element of the albumóRZA is the executive produceróand I think a lot of people are excited about it. What does it mean to have him as a guide behind the boards and overseeing this project?
U-God: You know, I love that nigga, so we do what we do. Itís hard for me to even answer that, because it just seems so normal. Itís like taking a footstep, you know your legs are moving but itís unconscious [laughs].
DX: Meth, Deck, and GZA, are all on the album. Whatís the vibe like in the Clan right now?
U-God: Youíve got a few that are disgruntled, and you canítÖ Me personally, B, Iím gonna tell you the truth, man. I canít be worried about all that man. I come from an eraóif you canít get up and do it, somebody else is going to do it for you, bruh. So Iím not going to kick and scream about nothing.
The music game is not like the streets. If somebody got some beef with you or somebody owe you some money, you canít just go and punch that nigga in the face and get you some money. Youíve gotta take that nigga to court in front of a judge, and the judge has to mediate the situation, and heís got to accept the damage and the laws of the county that you in to govern. Thatís whatís going to happen with the outcome. So I canít get caught up in the hooplah of how people feel and emotional shit, Ďcause Iím trying to be less emotional as I get older. A lot of black men out here are fucking emotional girls, and I just canít say black men cause a lot of men are emotional period and emotional for no god damn reason. So Iím trying to stop being so emotional, just do what I got to do and just be like, ďAlright, whatís the solution? Alright hereís the problem, whatís the solution?Ē And that will just counteract all the emotion.
Because now, the emotional motherfucker canít even talk Ďcause heís still stuck on business, so when we say, ďWhatís the solution?Ē The emotional human being gets shut down and then goes back to doing the same emotional shit again. He says about five sentences and then goes back to being emotional again. And when they do that, you say, ďWhatís the solution?Ē These people walk away from the situation and move over here Ďcause they going to them as an emotional wreck. Thatís it, man. I keep it moving.
DX: I mean, anyone who is in a group that large for that amount of time, thereís naturally going to be some disagreements at timesÖ
U-God: Of course!
DX: Next year marks the 15-year mark for Golden Arms Redemption. You were one of the last members of Wu to drop a solo album too. Does it seem like itís been that long since you dropped that project, and what were some of your best memories from putting that one out?
U-God: That album was hell [laughs], Ďcause you know, thatís a gold record by the way. That went gold, and what I would say is that was kind of my learning experience with being in the studio. To tell you the truth, I kind of put that record together myself. I mean, nobody really helped me put that record together, and I was kind of bitter at that too. At the time I was kind of mad at that, but at the same time, later on I realized that, ďWow, Iíve learned. Iíve become an apprentice to music.Ē
I learned so much from being in the studio about being in the studio, and I use that to this day. I use my learnings, my teachings and everything that Iíve made and created. I use that today, and thatís my reference point like, ďWow, Iím glad I went through that.Ē Now, itís all about once you get something, itís about mastering your shit. Itís about mastering your craft whether youíre a carpenter, rhymer, journalist, photographer, actor, basketball player, whatever, etcetera, etcetera. Whatever you do in life, itís about mastering that craft, and thatís what Iím about right now. I feel like Keynote Speaker is the master booth heart of work that Iíve put out right now. Itís like one of my top-notch masterings. If you like [Golden Arms Redemption], you definitely going to like Keynote Speaker. Dopium was kind of my comeback. Dopium was kind of like, ďOK he still got it.Ē This one right here is going to fuck you up, and be like, ďOK heís back.Ē And like I said, Iím constantly trying to master my craft, and it drives you crazy when you a master. Itís like Michelangelo and Picasso. One of them niggas cut they ear off, so like shit drives you crazy when youíre trying to be a master or when youíre trying get perfection at what you do. And I hope I can survive this shit, because I am going crazy as we speak [laughs].
Why U-God Thinks Hip Hop Has Gotten ďPillowcase SoftĒ
DX: One thing that is always great with Wu-Tang is that you are all so different musically, but have so much to offer. I always love the gritty and deep voice that you lay down over those boom bap beats. That seems to be what most expect from you when you do a track. What do you think is the best attribute you offer to Rap not just in Wu-Tang but overall?
U-God: Right now, Iím the hardest motherfucker. I am hard. You want hardcore shit, Iím that motherfucker, and thereís no soft shit on here. This is for hard motherfuckers, and if you want that bang ya head Punk Rock shit, Iím ya man. If you want rebel music, Iím ya man. You want to go against the machine, Iím ya dude. Iím that hardcore motherfucker, and thatís what I bring to Hip Hop. Ainít nobody hardcorer than me. I ainít on no soft shit here.
DX: Well, do you think that Hip Hop in general has taken a step to the softer side or the less street element side?
U-God: It got soft; it got pillowcase, yeah. Itís like a pillow right now, and right now, you need that dose of hardness. It needs Yin and Yang, and it canít just be one way. You canít just be one way all the time. It has to be soft and hard. Youíve got to have a mixture of soft niggas, and youíve got to have a mixture of hard niggas. Thatís the way the universe go, you need Yin and Yang, you need oppositesópositive and negative electrons. You need both of those shits to make electricity energy in the world and turn the lights on. So you need that balance, and I feel like we keep getting that soft shit, and thatís why sales are diminishing. The hardcore niggasóthey ainít getting fed, and on some real shit, thereís more hard motherfuckers on the low.
Thereís more people out here struggling and going through hardships than there are people living that luxury and fluff life. Iím trying to cater to the hardcore, struggling motherfuckers thatís going through it and might feel the same way that Iím feeling at this time right now. And if you into that hardcore shit, youíre into breaking ya neck, bussing niggas upside they head or having a good olí fucking time and living that hard life shit, Keynote Speaker is the album for you, bruh.
DX: Itís the 20th anniversary of Enter The Wu: 36 Chambers and looking back to that album to now, how much have you grown as a person? How much has your life changed since then?
U-God: Man, I feel like I knew everything back then. Turned out, I ainít know shit, and it went behind the ears. I knew about certain things, but I didnít really know the full content of the world. Right now, Iím seeing everything, and itís scaring me [laughs]. Iím like, ďWhoaÖoh, wow! I didnít know, wow now I know. OK fine, fine. Iím over here, fellas. Everythingís cool.Ē My eyes is open, and I can be everything now. You canít sneak up on me no more; it ainít happening.
U-God Details His Plans For An Autobiography
DX: Sure, and whatís coming up for you in the immediate futureónot even just with the album but even other things?
U-God: Iím gonna write my book, and it is incredible. My life story is going to blow your fucking mind. Thatís number one. Number two is, Iím probably going to do a couple of flicks with RZAÖdo some movies and shit, whatever whatever. Number three, Iím going to put out more music. Iím going to keep putting out more music, Ďcause thatís just what I do. I like being in-studio.
I have so much shit to talk about and issues and concepts thatíll keep pouring out. And after this day, I hope to sit back like Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger and them niggas and leave behind a legacy and be like, ďWow, they really did it man.Ē Itís going to be a beautiful day. People can go to my grave. Iím going to leave it in my will that when they bury me, put a smile on my face.
DX: You mention the book, what exactly does that all entail?
U-God: Well, thereís an untold story that needs to be told, Ďcause if there was a real story Rae and Ghost would have told it already. They donít have a story to tell, but I got the story to tell. Itís about my journey, what went on before Wu-Tang, what it was like growing up on Staten Island, what I was into, how deep I was into it and how things transpired.
Iím a legend. If you poll Staten Island right now, they know. I was the prince of Staten Island. You go through the history and donít mention U-God, you canít talk about Staten Island. I donít glorify none of the shit I did back then, I donít glorify violence, none of that. But I lived a life of hardships, trials, tribulations, struggle and overcoming adversity to get here to talk to you. I have to put it in a book to let the kids know what I went through. When you hear my storyófrom my birth to where Iím at right nowóyou gonna be crying; you gonna be laughing. Itís all that.
Itís going to be all the drama. One thing people talk about in Hip Hop, it always goes from here to drug-selling, but thereís a missing part in there. I have that part that people donít really talk about that needs to be talked about. [I talk] about how we grew up in the streets and how itís different for these kids now. They donít experience nothing because the games, the Xbox, Playstation or the computer took the experiences away from the streets.
They talk about bullying like bullying is brand new; bullying has been out forever. You supposed to get bullied growing the fuck up. Iím saying like, ďWhat the fuck is this?Ē Iím on the computer like ďAh bullyingÖbullying!Ē Are you fucking kidding me? If it wasnít for bullying, I wouldnít know how to punch a nigga in the face. I wouldnít even know how to defend myself, so that was a part of growing up. And itís like, yíall taking that away from everybody. This society is not going to be perfect, man. Even the people that run the world know itís not going to be perfect, but we try.
The key is that we try; we try to keep it perfect ,but the system is always going to have flaws. But itís there, and it provides necessities like food, clothes and shelter if youíre willing to put in the work to get the job and fit into the system. So itís a different time. So Iíve got to tell them about a time when there was no cell phones, and you had to operate without a cell phone. You had to call them at the house, leave them a message and they get right back to you. And we were communicating perfectly fine without them.
So at this time, thereís no experiences for them to go through to talk about, and thatís going to have an effect on the music also. Thatís why when I write my rhymes, itís a little more graphic. I have an experience that I went though, and I can tell you how it feels to be in a gunfight. I can really tell you how it feels to describe that shit. Iíve seen death, and Iíve seen people jump of roofs to they demise. Iíve seen all types of shit growing up man, so itísÖ Man you have no idea. My book is going to be crazy, and itís going to blow your mind, bruh. Itís going to be my therapy, Ďcause I have to pour it out. I have to. Itís not going to be fiction, itís going to be fact. Itís going to be true story and itís going to be what itís going to be.
That was a real insightful interview, I'm looking forward to the album. It's cool he shed some light on the process of Golden Arms Redemption, cause I'd always had the feeling RZA wasn't involved all that much with that album. I would've been mad if I was Uey too. RZA should've put as much effort into Deck, U-God, and Masta Killa as he did the rest of the Wu. It'll be interesting to read Uey's book.
I did not want tracks Golden Arms or Heavyweights so I call bullshit lol
Raekwon is definitely one of the "disgruntled".
Yeah Raekwon is obvious. I'm glad U-God called him out on that, Rae's gotta be a part of the solution if this is really gonna be a Wu record.
"Because now, the emotional motherfucker can’t even talk ‘cause he’s still stuck on business, so when we say, “What’s the solution?” The emotional human being gets shut down and then goes back to doing the same emotional shit again. He says about five sentences and then goes back to being emotional again. And when they do that, you say, “What’s the solution?” These people walk away from the situation and move over here ‘cause they going to them as an emotional wreck. That’s it, man. I keep it moving."
Thanks for posting
We do it for the people.
"In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty"
Can't wait for the book.
The snippets sound ok not what I want to hear at all but I can always throw on the vintage wu shit....theyre losing it bro sad to say
his album is ok, they def leaked the hottest tracks first
the disgruntled is probably Rae and GZA, i dont really care how they feel record a couple verses for the album. they can spare a couple nights in the studio for the brand that made them millions
poppa large, big shot on the east coast..
Love U-God for spreading the Scotty Wotty legend. Jackpot needs to put out his own record!