By Christian Zimonick, Staff Writer SCORE: 5.8
The newest release from legendary hip-hop crew Wu-Tang, The Saga Continues, is a compilation which feels fragmented and manages only (in snatches) to capture some of the old Wu-Tang magic.
The lyricism and energy on The Saga Continues is its strongest point. It’d be naive to bet against the likes of Method Man, Raekwon, RZA, GZA and the rest of the clan to be anything but brilliant with their lyrics and flows, and they certainly come in as strong as ever here.
It’s hard to fault producer Mathematics for aiming at an old-school sound on a Wu-Tang album, given the group’s long and storied history, but, unfortunately, the beats on this project sound more dated than vintage, which ultimately brings the album’s quality down. Predictable boom-bap drums make up most of the album, with melodies ranging anywhere from classic to corny. “G’d Up” is decent and has a nice resounding piano loop that fits the rhythm. “Frozen” on the other hand has a repetitious combination of bass and piano that sounds like it came straight out a 14-year-old’s FL Studio folder.
The abundance of typical Wu-Tang skits shows the incoherence on this album. In this case, they serve sort of as a thematic bandaid; when the songs themselves don’t fit together, the skits try to color over and hide the inconsistencies of the overall work. The Kung-Fu skits on The Saga Continues are reminiscent of the groundbreaking 36 Chambers skits, but are simply less novel and more shoehorned in a clear attempt at maintaining the Wu-Tang aesthetic.
The Saga Continues, then, is worth listening to for diehard Wu-Tang fans, and it’s far from offensive, but there’s not much to latch onto and it really turns into a drag by its conclusion.