Sunday, August 12, 2007

If Wutang is forever- How is hip hop DEAD?




Hip-hop's Wu-Tang Clan Re-energizes




Eric K. Arnold
Sunday, August 12, 2007

"How can hip-hop be dead if Wu-Tang is forever?" asks RZA. For the founder and chief producer of the multiplatinum New York rap group, the question is purely rhetorical.
It's hard to argue with his logic - or with the enduring Wu-Tang mystique. The group's return to the forefront of the music world draws nigh, courtesy of this summer's Rock the Bells Festival and Wu-Tang's long-awaited fourth album, "Eight Diagrams," which is nearly completed.
In a phone interview conducted two days before the start of the national Rock the Bells tour, RZA (born Robert Diggs), analyzed hip-hop's health and discoursed on all things Wu. For starters, he takes issue with Nas, whose recent album "Hip Hop Is Dead" sparked a heated debate among keepers of the culture over the genre's mortality index.


RZA points out that Nas himself is part of the Rock the Bells tour, whose lineup also features Rage Against the Machine, plus others including Cypress Hill, the Roots, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, EPMD, Pharoahe Monch, MF Doom, Hieroglyphics and Blackalicious. There's even an appearance by Public Enemy. If that's not the ultimate fantasy hip-hop concert lineup, it's hard to imagine what is.
Talentwise, Rock the Bells 2007 rivals the fabled Fresh Fests of yore. Yet these days, RZA says, "there are not that many hip-hop tours." To some degree, that's the genre's own fault. Rappers are frequently in the news for the wrong reasons, and hip-hop's image could certainly stand a thorough polishing. More

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