I don’t really know what the future of Wu-Tang is, or if they even really need a future, but as far as it seems based on the record releases as of late, we’re getting more Wu-Tang whether we want it or not. Take last December’s release of A Better Tomorrow, the Wu-Tang Clan reunion they said we deserved, but in all actuality, didn’t really need, especially feeling so after listening. Raekwon himself even said he didn’t like every song on the release. With a 2015 release from Ghostface Killah out already, and another due later this year, it looks as if Wu-Tang is here to stay. Following suit, Raekwon follows up 2011’s Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang with F.I.L.A., a.k.a., Fly International Luxurious Art.
Amid some decent production from Jerry Wonda, S1, Scoop Deville, Swizz Beats, etc., (excluding of course Jerry Wonda & 2 Chainz on “F.I.L.A. World”), Raekwon seems to face the same problem I had with Wu-Tang on A Better Tomorrow and even Ghostface a bit on Sour Soul. Does Gangsta Rap have a place in modern hip-hop anymore?
While braggadocio will always have a spot in the lyricism and culture of rap music, when a man with a 20-year long rap legacy releases something like F.I.L.A., you have to question why he couldn’t have delivered more. Raekwon barely, if at all, pushed the envelope on F.I.L.A. A little too long and a little too under-conceived, the material presented on F.I.L.A. is pretty unoriginal and lacking of any depth whatsoever. Personally, when I listen to music, I like the get something out of it, whether the record has a good a story, makes me feel something emotionally, makes me want to dance and have a good time, says something prolific or thought provoking, or countless other examples of how music can affect people. With F.I.L.A., it more feels like I had just wasted 40 minutes.