There was a time when hip hop artists did not have a team of stylists. An era when artists did not think how radio friendly their lyrics were and more importantly, when new artists saw hip hop as an art and not a platform to launch various unrelated business interests. There was a time of the Wu Tang Clan.
Wu Tang are back in the UK but this time with the entire clan to perform at Manchester’s O2 Apollo on July 25th and London’s Brixton O2 Academy on July 26th. Excluding the dearly departed O.D.B who passed away in 2004, the entire clan – RZA, GZA, Raekwon, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Method Man and Masta Killah – will take to the stage performing classics from their individual albums, team projects and upcoming album, ‘A Better Tomorrow‘. Tickets for UK dates are priced from £34 and available now.
It was mid 1993 when I first heard Protect Ya Neck, a time when Yo! MTV Raps and the only other music channel, The Box had nothing but Dr. Dre’s G-funk videos running back to back. A close friend, with the aid of his Sony Walkman introduced me to Wu-Tang Clan for the first in our school playground. I can recall the moment like it was yesterday. Pissing down with rain, a group of us sheltered by the lunch hall deciding how to spend the hour at which point a question was put to me – ‘Have you heard Protect Ya Neck?’ I could have been honest, said no and kept the little bit of street cred that I had but I opted for the standard 13 year old’s answer… ‘of course…let me hear it again’.
At the time, Wu Tang were something different. So much so they turned the standard concept of a hip-hop crew inside out. The Wu-Tang Clan were assembled as a loose congregation of nine MCs, almost as a support group for each members own project. Instead of releasing one album after another as a group, the Clan overtook the record industry by working as individuals on their own albums thus releasing Tical, Return to the 36 Chambers, Liquid Swords, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and my favorite Ironman all within three years.
Check out this recent video of Wu Tang performing C.R.E.A.M on stage at Coachella 2013. Do not miss the chance to witness real live hip hop on stage.