Hip-hop homecoming

They came, they performed, they spoke of love and humility.

More than two decades after music acts Wu-Tang Clan and Jurassic 5 dominated the hip-hop scene, these lyrical beatmakers are making a comeback and made a stop last week at dance club Zouk to prove it.

Wu-Tang Clan members and legendary rappers Raekwon and Ghostface Killah performed in Singapore for the first time on Thursday last week, while Jurassic 5 took their reunion Asian-Pacific tour here on Tuesday last week.

Raekwon, 44, whose real name is Corey Woods, says fans are the ones who drive acts to get back into the game. "I think it's because of the energy from the fans. One thing about the fans is that they love you and they'll love you forever when they feel like you have done your job in the business."

Formed in 1992 in Staten Island, New York, Wu-Tang Clan quickly became one of the biggest hip-hop groups of all time. Their debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993) peaked at No. 8 on the United States R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and went on to make it to scores of "Best Albums of All Time" lists, including those of influential music magazines Rolling Stone and New Musical Express.

In a 20-year span, the nine-piece group put out five studio albums. Some members, including Raekwon, also took time off to pursue successful solo careers. Last year, talk of a new Wu-Tang album to commemorate their 20th anniversary came up.

The new disc, titled A Better Tomorrow, is still a work in progress, says Raekwon.

He adds: "We're still trying to get it together. When you're dealing with a nine-member group, it's tough to be on the same page, and especially after 20 years, we want to make sure we give the fans the best we can and sometimes quarrels happen. I guess they have to happen, but we're always going to be brothers."

Raekwon, who was also in town to host a session of travelling music workshop-cum-festival Red Bull Music Academy, is also set to release a solo album, Fly International Luxurious Art, later this year.

Meanwhile, Jurassic 5's MC Akil jokes that his group reunited last year, after six years apart, for "the money".

But seriously, he explains: "Really, it was just laughter and the camaraderie on stage performing together. It was the Creator that brought us back. It wasn't up to us, it just happened."

The 43-year-old, who is married with five children and whose real name is Dante Givens, adds: "It was none of our doing and we all accepted it. The Creator is the owner of time and it was time to let go back then and now it's time to come back."

Formed in 1993, the Los Angeles-based sixmember Jurassic 5 put out four albums, producing classic hip-hop hits such as What's Golden, Concrete Schoolyard and Jayou before calling it quits in 2007, citing musical differences. In April last year, they played their first performance since reuniting at music festival Coachella in Indio, California.

Humility is key to a group's longevity and relevance, says Akil. "You can be arrogant and stupid for only so long. So us being humble makes people still want to see us. If we were arrogant back then, nobody would want to see us."

Jurassic 5 plan to release a new album in September, he adds. The album will feature material recorded before they broke up, but never released.

Akil says: "We're an old-school group, so nothing is dated for us anyway."


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