“Raw I’mma give it to ya, with no trivia,” promised U-God on “Da Mystery of Chessboxin” almost 20 years ago on the instantly iconic Enter The Wu-Tang. Though much has changed in Wu-Tang nation since then—soldiers have fallen, albums have dropped, holograms have been built—the deep-voiced lyricist has stayed true to his word, delivering harsh truths and painful revelations from the stage and on his latest solo release, Keynote Speaker.
Whether it’s internal squabbles about playing shows or inter-fan arguments about what direction the group should go next, the Wu-Tang nation is a country often filled with strife. Despite the recent publicity bump that the Clan got following Drake’s name-checking of the group throughout his latest album, Nothing Was The Same, and the subsequent buzz about a remix to the track “Wu Tang Forever,” it often feels like they can’t catch a break after the recent cancellation of the group’s headlining Rock The Bells appearances. U-God has had his own issues, blaming label Soul Temple Records—headed by RZA—for mishandling the release of Keynote Speaker.
Despite these setbacks, U-God sounds hopeful about the future, stopping by the XXL offices on Tuesday (October 8) afternoon to talk about the reception of his latest album, the current political climate and his upcoming book. And it turns out, U-God does interviews like he does anything: raw and with no trivia. —Dan Jackson