RZA- Only the Rugged Survive
The clansmen have not collaborated on a traditional LP since 2007’s 8 Diagrams, but with numerous solo releases and the compilation/collaborative effort Chamber Music, there has been no shortage in Wu-Tang tunes. 18 years in, the Clan is still bringing the ruckus, as they are currently prepping a compilation album titled Legendary Weapons in the same vein as Chamber Music. However, after all this time, does the Wu still bring it like they used to?
The answer is not as simple as yes or no. Recent Wu-related projects have been hit or miss. Raekwon’s Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang adds another solid record to his respectable catalog, but Rae, Ghost, and Meth’s Wu-Massacre left much to be desired. Which brings us to Legendary Weapons, and more specifically it’s first web leak, RZA’s “Only the Rugged Survive.”
On first listen, the listener may be so enamored with Noah Rubin’s stellar, trunk-rattling production that they may not take much stock in the lyrics. That’s not to say that RZA is overshadowed by the production; his systematic delivery pummels the track. The two combined make for a perfect windows-down, speakers-on-blast cruising experience.
My only beef with this cut is the lyrics. Though RZA is still convincingly hardcore due to his flow and delivery, the lyrics themselves sound formulaic and at times a bit generic. Lacking a real chours, the line “Bitch, you gettin’ hit up/ with so much weight and lead you won’t be able to get up” are repeated, having an almost tired effect on the listener.
All in all, though, the song is enjoyable. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, The Wu-Tang Clan will never record another 36 Chambers. That’s almost like asking NaS to record another Illmatic. Like Esco, the Wu is at a very different point now than they were in ’93.
“Only the Rugged Survive” should keep the killa bees satisfied, but it is doubtful that it will gain many new fans for the Clan.