There are times in pop culture history that are so epically monumental that any mention of them is sure to spark stories about where you were when “it’s” happened. In the not-so-distant past that can be considered contemporary history (but with enough years to make the small details less clear), someone gave me a tape with only one song on it. It is not known who this mysterious person was. However, what was clear was that this tape – with its indescribable white label and the phrase “Protect Ya Neck” written in hip hop letters – was something I had to hear. I took this simple cassette to my dormitory to listen to it, in turn amused and curious about the music of the “Wu-Tang Clan”.
On a blustery fall day in 1993, I was introduced to the Wall Uunpredictable-Tloaned Asd NOTnatural game (Wu-Tang), a 9-member collective of emcees that will become a worldwide phenomenon as group and individual performers. The RZA, GZA, ODB, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Inspectah Deck and Masta Killa, with their unique styles and content, not only changed the music industry, but influenced and inspired so many. others that there is even a Children’s lullaby CD based on their Enter the Wu-Tang and the Wu-Tang Forever albums.
As with anything to do with pop culture, inspiration breeds creativity. Check out these films, books, and CDs for a glimpse into the Wu influence, training, and creative work.
The Wu-Tang brain, the RZA, is often cited as stating that the Five deadly venoms was one of the first Kung Fu movies he saw. Quotes from the film, about a dying teacher ‘s wish to see his lonely student check on the activities of 5 of his former students, appear on their debut album.
Chinese DVD, 2007 Available See detailsSee details of The 36th Shaolin Chamber, DVD, Available
Worn by the hit singles “Protect Ya Neck” and “Method Man” (the result of an aggressive and successful popular marketing campaign in which the gang found their way to my college campus), Enter the Wu-Tang is considered one of the Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Best Albums of All Time.
36 bedroomsWu-Tang Clan (Musical Group) Wu-Tang Clan (Musical Group) Music CD, 1993Available View DetailsView details for Enter the Wu-Tang, Music CD, Available
Chamber music is a critical analysis of the socio-political and cultural climate that gave rise to the “spiritual unpredictable” styles of the Wu and their debut album in small groups.
Wu-Tang and America (in 36 pieces)Ashon, Will, Ashon, Will, Book, 2019Available See detailsSee details for Chamber music, Book, Available
As the saying goes, “behind every great man hides a great woman”. Sophia Chang, widely known for managing the careers of Wu members, epitomizes that sentiment. Meanest bitch in the room details, among other things, Chang’s work and his relationship with Wu-Tang’s founder, the RZA.
a briefChang, Sophie, Chang, Sophie, Book, 2020Available See DetailsSee Details of The Baddest Bitch in the Room, Book, Available
The bands are known for their behind-the-scenes dramas and public breakups that are as explosive as their initial rise to stardom. Although they have not been without their share of internal wrangling and strife, the Wu-Tang Clan has managed to become one of the most recognizable entities in the entertainment industry. their rise From the streets of Shaolin is detailed in this Biography of the legendary group.
the Wu-Tang sagaFernando, SH, JrFernando, SH, Jr Book, 2021Available See detailsSee details for From the Streets of Shaolin, Book, Available
Ask any Wu-Tang fan who their favorite member is and Raekwon is almost certain to be mentioned in the Top 3. By extension, ask the same fan what their favorite Wu solo album is and Only built 4 Cuban Linx – an album both different and close to the origins of the clan – is likely to be cited in the top 3.
Chief Raekwon (Musical group) Chief Raekwon (Musical group) Music CD, 1995 All copies are usedShow DetailsView Details for Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Music CD, All Copies In UseHolds: 0 of 2 copies
Raekwon’s elevation to prolific crew storyteller is detailed in his memoir From the stairs to the stage: the story of Raekwon and the Wu-Tang clan, written with author Anthony Bozza, Pulitzer Prize winner.
From the Staircase to the Stage: The Story of Raekwon and the Wu-Tang Clan From the Staircase to the Stage: The Story of Raekwon and the Wu-Tang Clan
Raekwon Book, 20211109On OrderView DetailsView Details From Staircase To Stage: The Story Of Raekwon And The Wu-Tang Clan, Book, On OrderCapacity: 4 out of 24 units
With so many unpredictable and witty styles to choose from, which Wu-Tang member or album is your favorite?
This press release was produced by Chicago Public Library Blog. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.