A Wu-Tang Clan project without the RZA may sound absurd to many, but it isn’t too far from the truth. One of the Wu’s top lyrical assassins Raekwon recently told to XXL that the Abbot will not appear on his upcoming Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang LP, due out this March 8.

“RZA is not on the album,” he said. “Being that he’s so die hard Wu-Tang, anything that sounds like it’s going at Wu-Tang wasn’t really up his alley.” (XXLMag.com)

Raekwon explained that there isn’t any bad blood within the Clan, however. He says that the RZA’s absence on his album is largely due in part to conflicting schedule, as the RZA is currently wrapping up production on his debut as a film director The Man with the Iron Fists. He also said that a lot of the album came out of his displeasure with the Wu’s most recent LP as a group, 2007’s 8 Diagrams.

“I aint mad at him [though],” he explained. “He’s doing his movie thing right now, he’s happy with that, and for me I’m just gonna keep the legacy alive. I think I’m a skillful artist that understands how to do things, so it wasn’t really a headache to not have him [involved]. He did things for me on Cuban Linx II which I’m very grateful for, but I didn’t want to get him to start dealing with [Wu-Tang vs. Shaolin] because I knew that at the end of the day he wasn’t fond about it.” (XXLMag.com)

He added, “It wasn’t about anybody trying to make this record to assassinate the RZA. We love the RZA. The RZA is the one that found us in the street. But we don’t always gotta be in love with the RZA you know what I’m saying? So this album was definitely picked from that time [with 8 Diagrams].” (XXLMag.com)

Without the RZA on the boards, Rae enlisted the likes of Erick Sermon, the Alchemist, Havoc of Mobb Deep and Scram Jones to flesh out Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang. The album is due out March 8 on Ice H20/EMI Records.