2000 brought another prophecy, as told by RZA: The W, the third album from Wu-Tang Clan. With the weight of its glory setting the stage, the Wu’s reconvening entailed breathing new life into the group’s strengths and expanding its worldview. The members came in rugged and raw, priding themselves on pairing visceral atmosphere with unparalleled ability. Common slang and styles, yet individuality that offers many flavors for the listener. They had already conquered the double-disc format; The W notably pares down to an hour, one that’s often gone underappreciated for updating the standards while keeping its own experimental flashes. There’s a darkness cast over the music that doesn’t mind interrupting itself with vibrant sunshine; the MCs we find here know all too well how to account for navigating the street, surviving it and lamenting the consequences. The W offers a balance that only comes with such maturity, rendering its players as reliable narrators who walk into the new millennium with the same pieces tucked for whoever wants it.