In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Wu Tang Clan, RZA announced the release of the A Better Tomorrow album. Much to the consternation of many (mainly Raekwon) the project is slated for release on November 28, better known as Black Friday. The only copy of the album is being stored in a vault in Marrakech, and has reportedly received a $5 million purchase offer.
RZA has always been considered to be the most visionary and entrepreneurial of his Wu Tang affiliates. He is unbending in the ever-changing music industry of disposable content and detached listeners. Born Robert Diggs and also known as Bobby Digital, RZA will be teaming up with music lifestyle product-maker Boombotix to deliver a limited-edition version of the album on a portable speaker platform. The Wu-edition Boombot Rex, which can play music files from any Bluetooth device, packs a powerful punch for its small size. It will be decorated with the group’s ubiquitous “W” logo and has a limited edition production run of 3000. Each Wu-Boombot will be embedded with eight songs from A Better Tomorrow, two unavailable-on-album instrumentals, and an exclusive song, “Big Horn B,” in advance of the full-length release (which RZA says will be out by Black Friday). The product will be exclusively available for purchase at Zumiez.com. RZA says that his tech-team-up will deter bootleggers and illegal downloaders.
RZA says of the theme behind the new album: “Musically, it travels from a guy who is going through difficulties, tries to find himself, gets involved with some violence, some troubles, but then realizes that it’s best sometimes to walk away from the past and all the bad times and maybe work on making his life better, and making a better tomorrow.”
All 10 clan members are on the project. RZA says that he has a manifesto that he will include on the album package: “Man has always been on a quest to conquer the seas with great ships, to conquer the air with great planes, to reach out of the atmosphere with space shuttles. So, we’ve always been striving for a better tomorrow. And through our music, I’m aiming to inspire a better tomorrow. One of my favorite songs on the album is called ‘Never Let Go.’ U-God has a lyric: ‘Never let go of your dreams, never let go of your hope; when you’re in jail, never let go of the soap.'”
RZA gives his audience an authentic listening experience. He says of opting for the boombox platform: “We’ve come into a time when music is unprotected, really. But to make an album, to make a record… one day in the studio is $1,000. So let’s say it takes them 30 days in the studio, that’s 30 grand, at least. Mastering is 2 grand a day. It takes you three days to master your album. At minimum, you’re gonna pay 35, 40, 50 grand if you’re paying somebody who knows what they’re doing. That’s the cost of a professionally made album. Some people go in on their laptops and do all that shit. But it’s not the same. When you hear this album, you’ll hear that this album could not have been made on no damn laptop. Straight up. Teenie Hodges, Lester Snell, and the Memphis Horns are not in your laptop. You gotta go to Memphis for that. Which I did. I had a problem with everybody getting their phones and everyone getting their headphones, the headphones cost 300 dollars, the phone cost 600 bucks, and they won’t pay 10 dollars for the music. What’s the use of the headphones without the music?”