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Wu-Tang Forever

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At

the Source Hip-Hop Music Awards, the

Wu-Tang Clan — minus an incarcerated Ol’

Dirty Bastard and a sidelined Cappadonna, who missed a

flight — showed up in full force, squelching any

talk of friction in the rap family.

"It’s

the Wu," Ghostface Killah said, pointing to the golden

"avenging eagle" that adorned his giant Wonder

Woman-style bracelet. He said the bird’s wings, which

are shaped in a "W," represent unity in the

Wu-Tang Clan.

"Love,

baby," Raekwon said. "Love is the elevation

of understanding. We’re getting older, we’re growing as

a family. We’re regular, we’re sincere, we have hearts.

That’s what keeps us together — the fact that we

know we put something together that struck the world."

"We’re

gonna keep popping it off until the day cats don’t have

no more air in their lungs," RZA said.

Although they’re

not breaking up, all of them said they’re putting together

individual projects. Method

Man, who’ll be featured heavily with Redman on the soundtrack

to their "How High" comedy in December, said

he’s taking his time on a third solo album.

"I’m

not really working but I’m working," he tried to

explain. "When I get the feeling, I go in. It’s an

in-and-out thing."

While LPs

by U-God, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, and GZA are also

coming way down the line, RZA, using his alter ego Bobby

Digital, will drop Digital Bullet on Tuesday. Raekwon

and Ghostface have been working together on their respective

albums, R.A.G.U. (February 5) and Bulletproof Wallets

(November 13). As

they did with Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Ghostface’s

Ironman albums, both artists will perform on the bulk

of each other’s tracks.

"We’re

gonna give the people what they want," Raekwon said.

"Check for a lot of stories, a lot of loops, raw

rhymes. We’re gonna take it there.

"R.A.G.U.

— I just looked in the refrigerator one day and peeped

it," he continued. "When you break down Ragu,

its like ‘Rae And Ghost Uniting.’ We ain’t been around

in awhile. We the source of a lot of things that jumped

off. A lot of that jewelry that y’all be calling out,

we’re the source of all that."

"Bulletproof

Wallets, that [title] came to me," Ghost said. "I

was in a zone one day. That was like a year ago. It sounded

tough, so I just wanted to stick with that. We’re slang

artists — that’s how we paint our pictures."

Ghost’s musical

Picasso impression can be heard on the single "Never

Be the Same," which features rhymes about being driven

to tears by a cheating mate. The smooth, midtempo track

is bolstered by Rae and Carl Thomas, who sings the hook.

Ghost’s "Good Times" is also circulating around;

it samples the theme song to the cut’s TV show namesake.

Method Man

said it’s not clear when the Clan will unite on wax for

their fourth album. "We gotta take our time with

it because it’s not a game," he said. "We know

people, if they don’t listen to anybody else out there,

they listen to Wu-Tang and what we’re saying. That’s why

it takes so long."

And although

it may be awhile before we see ODB again, RZA said the

Clan’s wildest member is staying strong.

"The

god ‘Ol Dirty is going through his trial and tribulations,"

RZA said of his incarcerated cousin. "We’re all in

his corner. The situation is definitely a no-good situation,

but the god is holding up his head, he’s clearing up a

lot, so it’s gonna be all good."

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