Steve Rifkind Talks Wu-Tang Clan Album, New Deal

 Five years after the release of their last album, Iron Flag, Wu-Tang Clan has reunited for their long awaited follow-up by signing a new record deal with the man credited for bringing them to the masses.

Steve Rifkind, CEO of SRC Records, announced the acquisition of the Staten Island collective this week in a video on his blog,

Although a new album had long been discussed, things didn’t get rolling until Wu-Tang was recognized at this year’s VH1 Hip-Hop Honors, according to Rifkind, who consistently stayed in touch with group member and lead producer RZA.

"Not only did I want, as a fan, want one more Wu-Tang record, but RZA also wanted one more Wu-Tang record," the mogul revealed. "And then when we started discussing it a few months ago, the timing of it was just really perfect.

"We always talked about it, but the timing was never really right," Rifkind continued, citing recently released "great albums" from Ghostface Killah (Fishscale, More Fish) and Method Man (4:21... The Day After) as signs of the Clan’s imminent return to form.

While plans are solidified for one Wu-Tang album, Rifkind remained optimistic about future group releases.

"We’re going to start with this one album and then let’s see where it all goes," Rifkind explained. "Everybody else has all their other careers. People are acting now. People are owning their own businesses. But it’s definitely one record."

Rifkind predicted that work will begin on the new album at the beginning of 2007 with a release date for later in the year.

A major tour will also follow, he added.

As for Wu-Tang’s mindstate going into the project, Rifkind has good news for faithful fans.

"The mind state is the 36," he shared, alluding to the title of the group's classic 1993 debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

"That’s what we’re bringing it back to," Rifkind said. "Listen to Ghost’s album, how amazing it is. Listen to Meth’s album. Listen to what Rae’s spitting now. It’s hot."

Wu-Tang is among the artists put on the public radar by Rifkind, who helped break Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Xzibit, Tha Alkaholiks, Lil' Flip, dead prez and others.

With SRC, the executive is ushering in a new line up of established artists such as Remy Ma, David Banner, Pharoahe Monch and Akon, who is enjoying the success of his latest album Konvicted.

The release has currently sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

"We ended the year off strong, extremely strong," said Rifkind. "When you focus on breaking acts, which we specialize in doing, that’s what we're going to do. We’re expecting an incredible year from Remy next year, an incredible year from Banner. More carryover of Akon. We have this kid Topic out on the West Coast that’s incredible. Young Cash out of Tallahassee, Fla. I mean we’re really, really excited. Pharoahe Monch. We’re extremely excited of the releases we have next year."

Rifkind founded Loud Records in 1992 and released the Wu-Tang Clan's breakthrough album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

The group also crafted a groundbreaking deal under Rifkind's watch, which allowed each member to record seperate solo albums on other labels.

The result was a slew of classic albums from Wu-Tang Clan members Method Man, RZA, GZA, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killah.

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