Wu-Tang Clan Overview
Wu-Tang Clan ( ) are a New York City-based hip-hop group, which consists of: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard. They are frequently joined by fellow childhood friend Cappadonna, whose status as an official member is in dispute. They were formed in (and are associated with) the New York City borough of Staten Island (referred to by members as "Shaolin"), though some of their members are from Brooklyn.
They have introduced and launched the careers of affiliated artists and groups List of Wu-Tang Clan affiliates , In 2007, MTV ranked Wu-Tang the 5th greatest Hip-hop group of all time.
Foundation and name
The founders of the Wu-Tang Clan were cousins Robert Diggs, Gary Grice, Russell Jones (RZA, GZA, and Ol' Dirty Bastard respectively The RZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard adopted the name for the group after the film Shaolin and Wu Tang.
First round of solo albums
The period between the release of Enter the Wu-Tang and Wu-Tang Clan's second album is considered to be "the greatest winning streak in rap history." The RZA was the first to follow up on the success of Enter the Wu-Tang with a side project, founding the Gravediggaz with Prince Paul Prince Paul (producer) and Frukwan (both of Stetsasonic) and Poetic Poetic (hip hop) . The Gravediggaz released 6 Feet Deep in August 1994, which became one of the best known works to emerge from hip hop's small sub-genre of horrorcore.
After the release of Method Man's Tical, Ol Dirty Bastard was the next member to launch a solo career. His debut album; Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version was released in March 1995, and is considered a hip-hop classic. Once released from prison, he signed a one million dollar contract with Roc-a-Fella Records.
On November 13, 2004, ODB collapsed at approximately 5:29 p.m. at Wu-Tang's recording studio, 36 Chambers on West 34th Street in New York City.
September 2009 saw the release of the long anticipated album; Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II which features guest appearances from several big name artists, and Clan members, with Ghostface being the most prominent, and also production from RZA, Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, and J Dilla, among others. The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200 and at number 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and has been praised by most music critics. Several weeks later, Ghostface released Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City, which is a hip-hop/R&B album.
Talk of the album Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang re-surfaced in July 2009
In terms of Wu-Massacre, Method Man recently charged Def Jam with rushing the project, while the trio revealed an updated tracklisting.
In September 2008, RZA announced that he had inked a deal with digital music company The Orchard The Orchard (music label) to release the Wu-Tang Clan's back catalogue worldwide digitally, for the first time. In addition to forthcoming material, the Wu-Tang Clan's catalogue includes 13 previous releases that have been previously unavailable digitally, including recordings by the group as a whole, U-God, Wu-Syndicate, Killarmy, Shyheim, West Coast Killa Beez, Black Knights and others, and will be available online beginning September 23. "The time is right to bring some older Wu material to the masses digitally," said RZA, de-facto leader of Wu-Tang Clan. "Our fans have been dedicated and patient and they're hungry to hear the music that has set us apart from so many others. Hip-hop is alive in Wu Music, and with The Orchard, we've got a solid partner that understands our audience and is committed to doing all they can to help us reach the fans. I'm definitely looking forward to working with them to see what else we all come up with. There's much more to come."
Gerald K. Barclay directed the Wu-Tang documentary, entitled "Wu: The Story of the Wu-Tang Clan", which premiered on BET on November 13, 2008. The documentary was released on DVD on November 18, 2008. On November 10, 2009 a documentary on Ol' Dirty Bastard was released entitled; Dirty: The Official ODB Biography. The documentary features interviews and stories from his family members, Wu-Tang members, and affiliates, as well as old interviews with Ol' Dirty, and live performances.
Meanwhile, GZA will be releasing a tell-all Documentary named Wu Tang Saga, featuring footage of the Clan dating back to the early nineties. Release date for the documentary is Feb 25, 2010.Wu-Tang has influenced many current-day hip-hop acts in the areas of rapping, production technique, subject matter and image. Among these contributions have been RZA's sampling style, certain Clan members' mafioso rap personas, usage of slang terms, and the tendency of artists to run in tightly-knit groups.
According to himself, RZA tries to have no more than 20–25% sampling on any given record, something starkly different from many other major hip hop groups. He uses "the sampler more like a painter's palette than a Xerox. Then again, I might use it as a Xerox if I find rare beats that nobody had in their crates yet." He played much of the piano himself, with Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk as major influences; for instance, he created the piano part to "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" after watching the Thelonious Monk documentary, Straight, No Chaser.
RZA's production technique, specifically the manner of chopping up and/or speeding or slowing soul samples to fit his beats, has been picked up by currently po***r producers, most notably Kanye West and Just Blaze, the two main producers behind Roc-A-Fella Records. West's own take on RZA's style briefly flooded the rap market with what was dubbed "chipmunk soul," the pitch bending of a vocal sample to where it sounded as though the singer had inhaled helium. Several producers at the time copied the style, creating other offshoots. West has admitted that his style was distinctly influenced by the RZA's production, and RZA has acknowledged his influence in an issue of Scratch magazine Scratch (magazine) , saying he wished he had produced "Jesus Walks" and "Breathe", two 2004 hits produced by Kanye West and Just Blaze, respectively. Said by Kanye West:
Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... helped (with the likes of Kool G Rap) po***rize the Mafia theme in rap music mafioso rap that remained widespread for more than half a decade. The landmark album touted a lifestyle patterned on drug dealing, regrets of living in harsh conditions, and partying (including po***rizing the Cristal Cristal (champagne) brand of champagne) which Nas, Mobb Deep, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, and other po***r artists all borrowed and/or expanded upon these themes at points in their respective careers.
The Wu-Tang Clan's slang has long been a staple of their music, wherein members would blend Five Percenter The Nation of Gods and Earths terms, Kung Fu/oriental words, and comic book and street terms to create their own nicknames for actions, people, places and things (such as the christening of Staten Island as "Shaolin Land" and money as "C.R.E.A.M."). The RZA noted in the The Wu-Tang Manual, that Raekwon was the resident slang-master of a great deal of the slang used by the group.
Before the Wu-Tang Clan's debut in 1993, few po***r rap music acts operated in groups, and at nine main members with several affiliates, the Wu was the largest around at that point; the only po***r groups coming close to that size at the time were Public Enemy Public Enemy (band) and the Death Row Records roster. Since that time, several collective-sized groups have gained po***r status, including Dipset The Diplomats , the Dungeon Family, D12, and No Limit Records; though the Wu-Tang Clan may not have been directly responsible for the formation of these groups, they helped encourage po***r acceptance of the idea. They were also among the first to start the trend in hip-hop of diversification; specifically with Power creating and pioneering the hip-hop clothing line Wu-Wear, which was later picked up by Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and Puff Daddy, among others.
Oli "Power" Grant and RZA's brother Mitchell "Divine" Diggs are the controversial executives who have been handling the business side of the Wu Tang empire since 1997, and are responsible for large amounts of products such as the Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style video game and Wu Wear which were released in the late 90s and early 2000s. The two stay behind the scenes for the most part but do occasionally step into the public eye. Oli "Power" Grant is a childhood friend of several clan members.
Oliver "Power" Grant has also acted in numerous films including Belly Belly (film) , Black and White Black and White (1999 film) , When Will I Be Loved When Will I Be Loved (film) and others. He also won the 24th Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach, beating out seventeen other celebrity and professional drivers. "Power" was mentioned in Raekwon's lyrics in the street anthem "Incarcerated Scarfaces", saying "Peace to Power and the whole unit."
Mitchell "Divine" Diggs has been mentioned in several songs by Wu-Tang members, such as by RZA in his song "Brooklyn Babies" with "My big brother Divine he push the Benz Mercedes-Benz well", and Raekwon in the song "The Turn" with "Divine got me, nigga, the boss, he pop me".
Method Man however has voiced his displeasure with Mitchell "Divine" Diggs of the Wu-Tang management, "Number 1 on my shit list right now is Divine from Wu-Tang management. He took something major from me that he had no intention of giving back."
Members of the group have appeared in several Comedy Central shows, most notably two appearances on Chappelle's Show. The first was in episode 107, in a sketch titled "Wu-Tang Financial," in which The RZA and GZA run an investment firm, lampooning the over-saturation of hip-hop endorsed brands (which Wu-Tang were guilty of at one point). The second appearance was in episode 201, in the sketch "Racial Draft 2004," in which the group is drafted draft (sports) to become ethnically ethnicity Asian Asian people . Various members have also appeared in episodes of Upright Citizens Brigade and Crank Yankers. On the latter, they performed "In The Hood" in puppet form.
Several members appeared in Scary Movie 3 (with many other rappers) in a scene where, originally coming to save the day, they end up arguing with other rappers until guns are drawn and everyone shoots each other to death.
Several members, including Raekwon, Inspectah Deck and Method Man, appeared as themselves in the movie Black and White Black and White (1999 film) .
The RZA, Cappadonna and affiliate group Killarmy made an appearance in the "Adolf Hankler" episode of the HBO sitcom The Larry Sanders Show. In the episode, the group are booked to perform on the show-within-the-show by guest host Jon Stewart, who then comes into disagreement with the show's network television network over whether or not the Clan are "too urban urban culture " for the show's audience. In one of their two scenes, the group is seen rehearsing the song "And Justice For All" and in the other scene, they are awkwardly conversing with the show's sidekick character Hank Kingsley, who asks where 'Dirty Old Bitch' is.
In 2003, The RZA and GZA appeared in the Jim Jarmusch movie Coffee and Cigarettes, in the sketch "Delirium" with Bill Murray.
In late 2006, Wu-Tang was honored as one of the premier and influential rap groups by VH1's 2006 Hip Hop Honors with other influential performers: Afrika Bambaataa, Beastie Boys, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Lyte, Rakim and Russell Simmons.
The Clan (sans O.D.B.) performed "For Heaven's Sake" on The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show shortly after the release of "Wu-Tang Forever".
Method Man has appeared in the show Burn Notice Burn Notice (TV series) as hip hop mogul and tough guy, Valentine.
to discuss The Tao of Wu.
In 1999, The RZA made a brief appearance in Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, a film he also scored Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (soundtrack) . RZA starred with fellow rapper Xzibit in the movie Derailed.
RZA scored the first film of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill saga. RZA has gone on to score several more productions including Blade: Trinity, Afro Samurai, The Protector Tom-Yum-Goong , Freedom Writers and several others.
RZA has appeared in American Gangster American Gangster (film) , a 2007 crime drama film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.
RZA appeared as himself in a scene in Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes with GZA and Bill Murray
RZA also produced all of the music to a Japanese style cartoon Afro Samurai, which also featured other artists such as GZA (Also from Wu-Tang), Talib Kweli, Big Daddy Kane and Q-Tip Q-Tip (rapper) .
RZA appears in the Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler film, Funny People.
RZA was interviewed on The Colbert Report on October 14, 2009 to promote his new book, "The Tao of Wu". The book was released the following day.
Method Man has had recurring roles in critically acclaimed television shows such as HBO's The Wire in which he plays the character Cheese, HBO's Oz Oz (TV Series) , The Twilight Zone,Third Watch, and the recurring character of Drops on CSI CSI: Crime Scene Investigation . He hosted a series on MTV for a brief period called Stung and has made numerous appearances as himself on TV shows such as Mind Of Mencia, Chappelle's Show, and others.
He also co-starred with Redman in his own Fox sitcom called Method & Red in late 2004; however, after only a short time on the air, the show was put on hiatus and never returned. Method Man later complained in the press about Fox's influence on the show's style, claiming that "there's been too much compromise on our side and not enough on their side" and bemoaning the network's decision to add a laugh track. Before the show even aired, he told fans not to bother watching it.
His first prominent role came in 1998 with the film Belly Belly (film) along with fellow rappers Nas and DMX DMX (rapper) . He has since added many credits to his name, including roles in the films Garden State Garden State (film) and One Eight Seven, with starring roles in the feature films such as How High, Soul Plane and others. He also played a small role in the 1997 film "Cop Land" starring Sylvester Stallone. Method Man also stars in the 2008 film "The Wackness".
On March 27, 2007 Redman confirmed on BET Black Entertainment Television Rapcity Rap City (TV series) that the sequel to the movie How High is currently being written, by Dustin Lee Abraham, who also wrote the first movie.
He had a guest appearance in the music video for the 2003 "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys, where he played the role of her boyfriend. Beanie Sigel also called upon Method Man's acting skills for his 2005 video "Feel It in the Air", where Method Man played an undercover cop leading an operation against Sigel.
Method Man has fallen back from pursuing more acting roles after the situation with his sitcom on Fox left a bad taste in his mouth, and now mostly just acts if the project is being handled by a friend of his, as was the case with CSI CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The Wire.
The "torture" verbal exchange between Method Man and Raekwon the Chef, on the track "Method Man" on the Wu-Tang Clan's debut album was parodied on the "Hip-Hop News" sketch of Chappelle's show, during the "Lost Episodes"
Method Man appears in the film The Wackness as a Jamaican drug dealer and on "Burn Notice" as a record label CEO.
Raekwon was the focus of a VH1 "RockDoc" about blood diamonds, where he along with Paul Wall and others visited Sierra Leone, West Africa. During the shooting of the documentary, Raekwon became the first American rapper to perform in Sierra Leone. He is apparently working on a series of film scripts after mentioning venturing into Hollywood.
Ghostface Killah released a doll in his likeness along with a series on daily habits and lifestyle for MTV called "The Pretty Toney series" into various short episodes. He also appeared in a sketch on the show Human Giant.
All nine members of the group (excluding Cappadonna) were featured in the game Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, released for the PlayStation on October 31, 1999, as well as a special collector's edition controller. Ghostface Killah and Yung Dirty Doucette, as well as collaborators Redman and Keith Murray Keith Murray (rapper) , also play themselves in all three games in the Def Jam series, Def Jam Vendetta, Def Jam Fight For NY, and Def Jam: Icon. Method Man is a huge fan of video games himself and has publicly stated that he loves playing SOCOM online with other PS2 users, and is even part of an online clan ("KMA/Kiss My Ass"). His Socom 2 name is "ICU". He has a fellow SOCOM player featured on a skit on his album 4:21. Several tracks by Clan members and affiliates such as Method Man, Ghostface, Cappadonna, Trife, DJ Mathematics and others were featured in the 2006 game Saints Row. A video game from Acclaim, 9Dragons, also sports the name Wu-Tang Clan in one of the ingame branches. In EA's Army of Two, Salem talks about Wu-Tang in the mission on China asking Rios who the best member is. Salem says it's RZA but he says Ghostface Killah is pretty good himself. In the ending cut scene, a reference is made to the song "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing to F' Wit" when Salem says "Survey says?" and Rios replies "You're Dead," the referenced lyric is "Survey said, you're dead." RZA also recently produced the soundtrack for the game Afro Samurai, which is based on the cult TV series and was released in January 2009 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, there have also been rumours circulating late September that the wu-tang clan will be contributing tracks to the next mortal kombat game but have yet to confirm these rumours.
Oli "Power" Grant, 37, was one of the first to move from music to clothes. The executive producer of the Wu-Tang Clan, Grant started making clothes in the early 1990s, with little success. ("I'm a black kid from the projects," he explains. "People didn't take it too seriously.") But then, in 1995, with the platinum success of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), suddenly the manufacturers that earlier wouldn't extend Power credit saw the potential. Power opened four Wu Wear stores, in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Norfolk, Va., the line is carried in Macy's, Rich's, and d.e.m.o, among others; Power says he did $10 million in 1998.
1997 saw the release of Wu-Tang's multi-platinum double-LP Wu-Tang Forever which launched the clothing line, Wu-Wear, to all new heights.
Method Man was unhappy with the decision to bring Wu Tang into the fashion world with Wu Wear, despite the brand being a major money-maker for the group. "When Wu-Wear started making shoes and sneakers and pants, it was shoddy material. I never rocked that shit."
There is currently a partnership between Wu Tang and the Alife NYC clothing group for an exclusive series of custom sneakers, t-shirts, hoodies and other accessories for both men and women. The collection is called "A Wu-Tang Life".
Nike released a Wu-Tang Clan dunk that is very rare and can be as much as 7,500 dollars.
Ghostface had a non publicized feud with 50 Cent in the late 1990s and early 2000s. On 50 Cent's track "How to Rob" insults were aimed at many high-profile rappers, including Wu-Tang. In the early 2000s the argument made it on to wax with skits titled "Clyde Smith" on Supreme Clientele featuring a low-pitched recording of what most fans believe to be Raekwon's voice derisively making fun of 50 Cent's behavior and his methods of attracting attention to himself. The skit also joked at other unnamed "gangster rappers" in New York. 50 Cent took offense and came back with a short track dissing Wu-Tang Clan, and Ghostface in particular.
In 1995, on the album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..., Raekwon and Ghostface Killah commented on Big in a skit called "Shark Niggas (Biters)." Alleging that he copied the cover from Nas' landmark release Illmatic, as well as styles from other rap artists. This generated longstanding controversy over their differences with Biggie, and in later interviews, both rappers would downplay the incident:
On the same album, B.I.G. gave thanks to Wu-Tang in the album's liner notes, and also inserted lyrics praising the Wu-Tang Clan single "C.R.E.A.M."; on the song "Notorious Thugs," he states, "I'mma tell you like a nigga told me/Cash rules everything around me." On his 2002 album God's Son, Nas references the feud on his song "Last Real Nigga Alive," inferring that although he and Big had their differences, they were friendly; while he was also on good terms with Raekwon, neither Big nor Raekwon got along, and both warned Nas the other would copy his lyrics and style. In 2006, Ghostface and Raekwon did a posthumous collaboration with Biggie, on the song "Three Bricks," which was originally intended to appear on the posthumous Biggie album, Duets: The Final Chapter, but it instead became a bonus song on the Ghostface Killah album Fishscale. In 2008, Raekwon did a cover of Jadakiss' hit "Letter to B.I.G.," injecting his own thoughts on his deceased former rival.
In 1998, ODB rushed onstage unexpectedly during Shawn Colvin's acceptance speech for "Song of the Year Grammy Award for Song of the Year " at the Grammy Awards Grammy Awards of 1998 , and began complaining that he had recently purchased expensive clothes in anticipation of winning the "Best Rap Album Grammy Award for Best Rap Album " award that he lost to Sean Combs Puff Daddy . Before being escorted off-stage, he implored the audience, "I don't know how you all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. We teach the children. Puffy is good, but Wu-Tang is the best. I want you all to know that this is ODB, and I love you all. Peace!" His bizarre onstage antics were widely reported in the mainstream media. Dirty made it known on The Howard Stern Show that he meant no disrespect to Combs, but that feelings were hurt on Combs' end. Later that night Combs' bodyguards would physically threaten ODB, but Dirty insisted to his friends and family in attendance that no violence breaks out. Following the award show, Howard Stern asked Dirty about the incident with Diddy's bodyguards on his radio show, but Dirty wouldn't play up the incident as he didn't want to shine a bad light on hip hop because of one minor altercation.
Ghostface appeared on the 2002 Bad Boy Records release, We Invented the Remix, along with Combs on the remix to the song "Special Delivery." Ghostface even gives Bad Boy Records a shout out for inviting him on the track when he raps "Bad Boy, thank you for this special delivery." Combs was one of the executive producers for Method Man's 2004 album Tical 0: The Prequel, although Meth later voiced his displeasure with the final product. "On the third LP, it was suggested to bring in Harve Pierre and P Diddy. Who am I to argue? Puff knows how to sell some records. But that wasn't the direction to go in, and I know that now." In 2006, Method Man also called out Combs' decisions on the posthumous Notorious B.I.G. The Notorious B.I.G. album Duets: The Final Chapter, saying that Biggie never would have rocked with some of the sub-par rappers featured on it. He also brought up the fact that he was the only other rapper that Biggie chose to feature on his debut album Ready to Die.
After badmouthing Wu-Tang at a concert, Bad Boy Bad Boy Records recording artist Mase had a run-in with Ghostface and his entourage at a club in New York City. There was some sort of physical altercation between Mase's and Ghostface's camps, and Mase left the incident with a broken jaw. Kanye West is among several rappers who have made reference to the incident, rapping "...if you could feel how my face felt/ You would know how Mase felt..." on his single "Through the Wire". Shyheim also referred to the incident in a freestyle, with the line "The Empire State, where Ghostface retired Mase". In the June 2007 issue of Hip Hop Connection magazine, Wu-Tang affiliate Cilvaringz stated that Ghostface had in fact done time in jail for "beating up" Mase.
In 2009, Joe Budden posted a video blog voicing his opinion on a "Best rapper" readers' poll posted in Vibe magazine. Throughout the video, Budden gave examples of rappers who were ranked too high, and claimed to be better than half of the rappers on the list. Some of the people he mentioned were Melle Mel, Prodigy Prodigy (rapper) , Ol' Dirty Bastard, and Method Man. At the end of the video, he went on to say that he'd beat Method Man in a battle if they were face to face. Shortly after this, Budden called into Ed Lover's Power 105.1, and took his claim even further by stating, "Lyrically, I will cut that man's head off his shoulders" (referring to Method Man). Several weeks later, Budden did a freestyle track which many speculated contained subliminal shots towards Method Man and several members of Wu-Tang (the track is called "D.O.A Freestyle"). Method Man was overseas while all of this occurred, but eventually spoke out about it on several radio interviews and freestyles. While Raekwon was on the Rock the Bells tour with Slaughterhouse (which is Budden's group) the two got together to settle any bad blood. This calmed things down for a short while, until Wu-Tang member Inspectah Deck released a Joe Budden diss track entitled "House Nigga" which was a response to Budden's remarks. A few days after releasing his diss track, on July 9, 2009, Deck went on stage at the Columbia, MD show of Rock the Bells, during Raekwon's set, and told the audience the reason for the diss track was because "the nigga tried to diss my brother, he tried to shit on my nigga like my nigga aint a made man ... *** Joe Budden" (referring to what Budden said about Method Man). Joe Budden immediately posted a five-minute video blog in which he said that he wanted to slap Deck and called Deck a coward. At the San Bernardino stop of Rock the Bells, Raekwon approached Budden with his Ice Water Inc. entourage, resulting in Budden getting punched in the right eye. Shortly after this occurred, Joe Budden posted yet another online video blog of him with an ice pack over his eye, confirming that he's doing alright, and that it was Raekwon who threw the punch. Later though, it was discovered that it was in fact one of the members of Ice Water who punched him. Though the two reporterdly were sat down and forced to hash it out on the final day of the tour, Budden released a video on his website challenging Raekwon to a one-on-one fight, and called on all his fans to help persuade Raekwon to accept. Raekwon however did not accept, and stating that he is a grown man with a family, and that fighting would be childish.The Wu-Tang Clan's range of big-name, non-Wu-Tang artists has expanded exponentially since their early days. Close collaborators to individual members or the group as a whole include or have included mainly-New York-based artists, including Redman Redman (rapper) , Mobb Deep, Erick Sermon, Nas Nas (rapper) , Pete Rock, and others. The Wu-Tang clan also has many "affiliates" which receive support, financial and otherwise, from within the Clan. These are collectively known as the Wu-Tang Killa Beez.
The association of these artists with Wu-Tang varies greatly. They include a plethora of solo artists and groups, both past and present. Many on this list are virtually unknown, while many are already successful musicians in their own right. Generally, the most acclaimed Wu-Tang affiliates are the ones with the closest actual ties to members of the group.
Easy Mo Bee
In the late '80's, future Wu-Tang Clan co-founders RZA and GZA were signed under different monikers to 'Cold Chillin' Records', the label home of Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap, among others. During their tenure, producer Easy Mo Bee provided RZA (under the name Prince Rakeem) with his first hit single, "Ooh I Love You Rakeem," and produced much of GZA's (under the alias The Genius) true first album, Words From the Genius Words from the Genius . Around this time, according to the Wu-Tang Manual, RZA accredits Easy Mo Bee with mentoring him and providing equipment for RZA to continue practicing beatmaking.
In 1994, after linking up with 'Bad Boy Entertainment', Mo Bee began producing a fair share of Ready to Die, The Notorious B.I.G.'s debut album. The only rap feature on the album was Method Man, who appeared on the Easy Mo Bee-produced "The What." 1998 saw the producer produce for RZA once again, on the Ras Kass song "The End," and Wu-Tang member Raekwon was featured on Easy's solo album, Odyssey 2000: Now or Never alongside Busta Rhymes on the song "Let's Make a Toast." Seven years later, Mo Bee would go on to co-produce alongside RZA on the group's fifth group album, 8 Diagrams.
In 1995, New York rapper Nas Nas (rapper) became the first artist with no previous ties to the Wu-Tang to be featured on any Wu-Tang album—namely, Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.... Following this appearance, Nas and Raekwon began to collaborate more often, frequently being featured on the same songs. That same year, Nas and Raekwon appearaed on Mobb Deep's The Infamous, on the track "Eye For An Eye;" in 1998, they appeared on the Fat Joe single "John Blaze," alongside Big Pun and Jadakiss. During the same time period, Nas and Method Man co-starred in the film Belly Belly (film) , and collaborated on its soundtrack. Nas was later featured on the Wu-Tang Clan album The W, on the song "Let My Niggas Live," which also featured Raekwon, as well as Inspectah Deck. In 2009, before the release of his anticipated Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, Raekwon stated that Nas was intended to be present on the album, but Nas was never able to find time to record..
In 1995, the same year that Raekwon's debut came out, the Wu-Tang rapper appeared on Mobb Deep's seminal The Infamous; aside from "Eye For An Eye," he and Ghostface Killah appeared on the track "Right Back At You." A year later, Method Man and Raekwon made appearances on separate tracks on the duo's followup album, Hell on Earth. In 1998, Mobb Deep member Prodigy Prodigy (Mobb Deep) was featured on "The Game," a song from Pete Rock's solo debut Soul Survivor, once again alongside Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. The same year, Prodigy made an appearance on Big Pun's debut album Capital Punishment Capital Punishment (album) , on the song "Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy)," also featuring Inspectah Deck as well as produced by RZA. Furthermore, Prodigy and Method Man collaborated on the soundtrack to Bulworth, on the DJ Muggs-produced song "Bulworth," which also featured KRS-One and Kam Kam (rapper) .
In 1998, Mobb Deep appeared on Method Man's sophomore album, Tical 2000: Judgement Day, on the song "Play IV Keeps," which was produced by Mobb Deep producer Havoc Havoc (Mobb Deep) . Havoc also appeared on Raekwon's 2003 album, The Lex Diamond Story, on the song "King of Kings," and in 2006 he produced the song "Somebody Done ***ed Up Now" for Method Man's album 4:21... The Day After. More recently Havoc collaborated with the Wu on J. Dilla's posthumous single "24K Rap" alongside Raekwon, and "Evil Deeds" from the Wu-Tang Clan compilation album Chamber Music Wu-Tang Chamber Music .
Redman & Erick Sermon
Both Wu-Tang rapper Method Man and Def Squad member/EPMD protege Redman Redman (rapper) were signed to 'Def Jam Records' in 1994; their first recorded collaboration was "Double Deuces," a commercial recorded for St. Ides malt liquor. Both were also featured on "Got My Mind Made Up," a 2Pac song from his 'Death Row Records' album All Eyez on Me. The collaboration led to a hit single, "How High," and Method Man and Redman would make guest appearances on every subsequent album either of them have put out thus far in their careers, including the Erick Sermon-produced "Whateva Man," a single from Redman's 1996 album Muddy Waters Muddy Waters (album) . In addition the duo has made many guest appearances together, including LL Cool J's 1997 hit "4, 3, 2, 1 4, 3, 2, 1 (LL Cool J song) ," produced by Erick Sermon and 1999's "Rap Phenomenon," on the posthumous Notorious B.I.G. album Born Again Born Again (The Notorious B.I.G. album) .
In 1998, Method Man released his sophomore album, Tical 2000: Judgement Day, which sported two tracks produced by Sermon, on one of which Redman guested. A year later, Redman and Method Man released Blackout!, a collaboration album that featured production from Erick Sermon, RZA, and Wu-Elements producers 4th Disciple and True Master. In 2000, Redman appeared on the Wu-Tang Clan's third group album, The W, on the song "Redbull" alongside Method Man and Inspectah Deck; he also appeared on Ghostface Killah's second album, Supreme Clientele, alongside Ghostface, Method Man and Cappadonna. In the late 90's to the early-to-mid 2000's, Redman and Method Man made several appearances in film and television together, including the comedies "How High" and "Soul Plane", and the short-lived sitcom Method & Red.
Sermon made a return to Method Man's music with 2006's 4:21... The Day After, for which the producer served as co-executive producer alongside RZA and Method Man himself, producing or co-producing four tracks. The producer also worked on rapper Busta Rhymes' 'Aftermath Entertainment' album The Big Bang The Big Bang (album) , co-producing the song "Goldmine" with Dr. Dre, a song featuring the Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon. This collaboration culminated in Sermon producing the song "Baggin' Crack" on Raekwon's 2009 album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, as well as two songs on Blackout! 2, Method Man & Redman's followup to the 1999 record.
Like Easy Mo Bee, New York producer Pete Rock first began his association with the Wu-Tang before it was formally founded—by playing mentor to RZA, then under the moniker Prince Rakeem. In the book "The Wu-Tang Manual," RZA admits to effectively stealing equipment from the successful producer, borrowing and never returning an MPC. Pete first produced for the Wu-Tang when its members Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and Method Man made appearances on his 1998 album Soul Survivor. The following year, the producer provided a beat for Raekwon's sophomore album Immobilarity, and Wu members RZA and GZA appeared on Pete's 2004 followup solo album Soul Survivor II. Since then the frequency of Pete Rock's collaborations with the Wu-Tang have increased, as he provided production for Ghostface Killah's two 2006 solo albums, Fishscale and More Fish; Masta Killa's 2006 sophomore album Made in Brooklyn; the Raekwon- and Masta Killa-featuring song "PJ's" from his own third solo album, NY's Finest; the single "A Yo" from Method Man & Redman's Blackout! 2; and the song "Sonny's Missing," from Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... pt. II.
Jadakiss, one-third of Yonkers, New York-based group the L.O.X., first collaborated with a member of the Wu-Tang Clan in 1998 on the single "John Blaze" with Raekwon. While the collaboration led to associations with Nas and Fat Joe as well, Jada's group began to collaborate with the Wu-Tang on a more regular basis. L.O.X. member Sheek Louch appeared on Raekwon's third album The Lex Diamond Story in 2003; in 2004, Jadakiss appeared on "Run," the RZA-produced hit single from Ghostface Killah's The Pretty Toney Album. The following year Ghostface appeared on Louch's 2005 album, After Taxes; in 2006, Sheek made a return appearance on Ghostface's Fishscale, and Raekwon appeared alongside Jadakiss and others on Hi-Tek's album Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip, on the song "Where it Started At." Ghostface Killah appeared on L.O.X. member Styles P's 2007 album, Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman), and Styles was set to appear on Ghostface's Big Doe Rehab, having recorded a version of the song "Tony Sigel A.K.A. Barrel Brothers" with Styles.
In 2009, Jadakiss featured Raekwon and Ghostface Killah on his album The Last Kiss, on the single "Cartel Gathering", and Raekwon featured Jadakiss and Styles P on his album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II . Inspectah Deck has also stated that he intends to reach out to Jadakiss to appear on his next and final album, The Rebellion.. Sheek Louch and new D-Block addition Bully are also slated to appear on Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon's upcoming album, Wu-Massacre.
New York rapper Busta Rhymes first collaborated with the Wu-Tang Clan on the 1996 soundtrack to "Space Jam," when he and Method Man appeared on the song "Hit 'Em High." 2000 witnessed Ghostface Killah and Raekwon appear on Busta's album Anarchy, on the song "The Heist;" Busta also appeared with Raekwon on Easy Mo Bee's solo album, Odyssey 2000: Now or Never, and guested on The W on the song "The Monument." Busta would later appear on Method Man's album Tical 0: The Prequel, assisting on the hit single "What's Happenin'," while convincing Raekwon to record his sequel to the critically-acclaimed 1995 album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Serving in an executive producer capacity, Busta helped Raekwon assemble Cuban Linx II and provided the rapper with a link to Aftermath producer Dr. Dre. Raekwon appeared on Busta's 2006 album The Big Bang, on the Dr. Dre/Erick Sermon-produced song "Goldmine," and Busta made a return appearance on the Dr. Dre-produced "About Me" from 2009's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II.
AZ AZ (rapper) began his career as an affiliate of Nas, but over time has strengthened his ties with other artists, including the Wu-Tang Clan. The Brooklyn rapper first recorded with the Wu in 1996, when Raekwon joined him for a RZA-produced remix of his first single, "Doe or Die." In '98, the rapper linked up with RZA again on the album Pieces of a Man, with the RZA-produced song "Whatever Happened (The Birth)." 2005 brought another collaboration; on his album AWOL, AZ featured Raekwon and Ghostface Killah on his single "New York." In '09, AZ was featured on the Wu-Tang compilation album Chamber Music, and is set to appear alongside Raekwon and Ghostface again in 2010 on DJ Kay Slay's album More Than a DJ./index/news/id.10464/title.bun-b-jim-jones-camron-d-block-on-kay-slays-more-than-a-dj]
Kool G Rap
Kool G Rap began appearing with the Wu-Tang starting in 1997, on the single "Cakes," produced by and featuring RZA for the soundtrack to Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. In 2003, G Rap appeared on Inspectah Deck's album The Movement, on the song "Framed;" he went on to make appearances on the Ghostface Killah/Trife da God joint album Put it on the Line, RZA's Afro Samurai: Resurrection soundtrack The RZA Presents: Afro Samurai Resurrection OST , and the Wu-Tang's Chamber Music. Recently, it has been announced that Raekwon and G Rap are recording a collaboration album together..
West coast producer and Cypress Hill co-founder DJ Muggs began collaborating with the Wu-Tang in 1995, when RZA produced and he and U-God appeared on the Cypress Hill song "Killa Hill Niggas," from the album III: Temples of Boom. In 1997, Muggs produced the Method Man/Prodigy collaboration, "Bulworth." In addition, RZA and GZA appeared on his album Soul Assassins I Chapter 1 (Soul Assassins album) , and GZA appeared on the 2000 followup, Soul Assassins II. In return, Muggs produced a song on GZA's 2002 album Legend of the Liquid Sword. The partnership led to Muggs and GZA recording the 2005 joint album Grandmasters Grandmasters (album) (billed as DJ Muggs vs. GZA, the first in a series of "DJ Muggs vs." albums), released to some critical acclaim. 2005 also saw Muggs produce the song "Black Opera" for Skillz, which featured Raekwon. Additionally, GZA appeared on the DJ Muggs-produced Planet Asia album, Pain Language in 2008. In 2009, Raekwon spoke about recording new material with DJ Muggs, presumably for his album Cuban Linx II,, although no new collaborations have surfaced.
The underground rapper/producer MF Doom's first collaboration with the Wu-Tang Clan was in 2005, when he appeared with the RZA on "Biochemical Equation" (which RZA also produced), from the compilation album Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture. When Doom anonymously submitted a beat tape for Ghostface Killah, several of his tracks made the cut for Ghostface's 2006 albums Fishscale and More Fish, including the song "9 Milli Bros.," which featured the Wu-Tang Clan in its entirety. Doom also provided production for Masta Killa's 2006 album Made in Brooklyn. An album-long collaboration with Ghostface Killah was rumored for several years, and various songs leaked that reportedly were recorded for the project, which was to be entitled either Ghostface Meets Metalface or Swift & Changeable. The project has not yet surfaced, but in July 2009 Ghostface reported having recorded his parts for the record and said he was simply waiting for Doom to finish his parts.. Since then, several new collaborations by the two have surfaced, including "Chinatown Wars" (from the soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars), "Angeles," "The Mask," and the J. Dilla-produced "Sniper Elite" and "Murder Goons."
Ghostface Killah's Fishscale also boasted work by underground sensation and Detroit, Michigan producer J. Dilla, who passed away shortly after. However, just as the producer's music has continued to surface in other artists' projects, several productions Dilla created for Raekwon made the final cut of the rapper's 2009 album. The year 2009 witnessed the release of the long-delayed, highly-anticipated Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II. The album made heavy use of longtime and short-term Wu-Tang associates, featuring frequent collaborators Pete Rock, Erick Sermon and Busta Rhymes while cementing the associate status of newer associates: namely, Beanie Sigel, J. Dilla, The Alchemist The Alchemist (producer) and Dr. Dre, all of whom have worked—in a limited capacity—with the Wu-Tang Clan previously.
As of 2010, the number of Wu-Tang affiliates has grown by three: Capone-N-Noreaga, a rap duo based out of Queens, New York City, signed with Raekwon's IceH20 Records on February 18, 2010 and has listed the Wu-Tang rapper as executive producer of their next album, The War Report 2.. In addition, Masta Killa's next album is slated to feature production by PF Cuttin'..*'Cappadonna' (born 'Darryl Hill', 1969) - After growing up as friends with many the Clan members, Cappadonna made his debut as an affiliate of the Wu-Tang Clan on Raekwon's hit single "Ice Cream Ice Cream (song) ". He was also a guest star, along with Raekwon, on Ghostface Killah's solo debut album, Ironman Ironman (album) . He made his first appearance on a Wu-Tang Clan album in 1997 on Wu-Tang Forever on the single "Triumph Triumph (Wu-Tang Clan song) ". Following his appearance on Forever, he contributed significantly to the group's third studio album, The W, at which point his appearances were no longer marked with "Feat. Cappadonna", as they had been on Forever. After a falling out with RZA the next year over royalties, he did not appear at all on the group's subsequent album Iron Flag. He eventually reunited with the group for their concert at 2004's Rock the Bells, and appeared on 2007's 8 Diagrams.
**Cappadonna's current status as an official member is unclear. While long referred to by both the group and fans as the "Unofficial Tenth Member", there is no confirmation on whether he actually became the official tenth member following the death of Ol' Dirty Bastard. While MTV.com's biographies of both him and the group claim that he is an official member,
*'Method Man' (born 'Clifford Smith', 1971) - He was the youngest member of the Wu-Tang Clan and the first to release a Wu-Tang solo album with Tical Tical (album) , his career went on to become the most successful in the group, while maintaining an underground rep. His career is highlighted by platinum sales and a Grammy for I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need with Mary J. Blige. He is recognized by his distinct voice and smooth flow. He has also had a significant acting career with many film and television credits to his name, most notably the po***r series, The Wire, where he portrayed the character of Cheese Wagstaff, the lieutenant of drug lord Proposition Joe. He also acted in the comedy film How High and the sitcom Method & Red, both co-starring with Redman, with whom he also made an album in 1999 titled Blackout! as well as the 2009 sequel Blackout! 2. Method Man's friendship with the Notorious B.I.G. is credited for preventing more heat between Biggie, Raekwon and Ghostface.
*'Ol' Dirty Bastard' (born 'Russell Jones', 1968–2004) - Arguably the most eccentric and erratic member of the group, his wild behavior drew significant media – and often police – attention. Along with Method Man, he was among the most po***r members of Wu-Tang with high sales and guest spots with industry giants like Mariah Carey. He collapsed in Wu-Tang's recording studio on November 13, 2004 and was pronounced dead less than an hour later, with a later autopsy confirming an accidental drug overdose to be the cause of his death.
*'Raekwon' (born 'Corey Woods', 1970) - Nicknamed "The Chef" for having "lyrical flavor", as well as his skills at 'cooking' cocaine into crack rock, his lyrics contain extensive use of New York slang and are often delivered in an aggressive, fast-paced manner. His influential solo album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... is often credited with initiating the Mafioso rap phenomenon of the mid-to-late-1990s, and is generally considered one of the best of the solo albums by both fans and critics. The sequel to the influential album was released in late 2009 titled Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II.
*'RZA RZA (musician) ' (born 'Robert Diggs', 1969) - The de facto leader of the group. He produced the entirety of Enter the Wu-Tang and the majority of the tracks on subsequent Wu-Tang albums. He has also produced many of the group's solo efforts, especially early on. Considered a producing Hip hop production pioneer, recently his po***rity has transcended hip-hop. Thanks to Jim Jarmusch giving him his break with Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, he has gone on to score several Hollywood films such as the first installment of Quentin Tarantino's critically acclaimed Kill Bill, Tony Jaa 's The Protector Tom-Yum-Goong and Ridley Scott's American Gangster American Gangster (film) . Most recently he scored the music for the anime series Afro Samurai. Before signing with SRC Records in early 2007, RZA was flooded with offers from Bad Boy Records, Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope and Def Jam among others. Rza is currently working with Shavo of System of a Down on an album titled "Achozen" still with an impending release date. The first single is "Dueces".
*'U-God' (born 'Lamont Hawkins', 1970) - One of the lesser members of Wu-Tang, in part due to his limited exposure, from being incarcerated for most of the recording of 36 Chambers, in which he only delivered short verses on "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" and "Protect Ya Neck." He is known for delivering strong verses, his unique "bass-like" voice, and his style of blaxploitation rap.*Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
*Wu-Tang Forever (1997)
*The W (2000)
*Iron Flag (2001)
*8 Diagrams (2007)
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