Sunday 5th July marked the fifth instalment of my Check the Rhime show. It was also RZA’s 51st birthday, so I decided to show some love by dedicating the show to the music of his epochal five-year plan, as well as making up five Wu-related top-fives with four other Liverpool music heads.
Technically, but admittedly tenuously, that’s five references to five which is my sly little nod to the mathematics that underpins Wu’s greatness. The five-year plan was something else, though. It concerns how RZA nudged himself and nine other emcees (counting Cappadonna cos he’s a god) from relative unknowns to worldwide superstars.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but the music released from the single of ‘Protect ya Neck’ up until the double album of ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ is as good as anything from any similar period from a group. And I include the eight LPs by the Beatles from ‘Help’ to ‘Let it Be’ in that conversation.
The Wu changed the landscape of music, not just in their sonic vision but so too in the way recording contracts were created, and merchandise could be an extension of the brand. And they stayed gutter while appearing with the likes of Mariah Carey, Jodeci and Texas. Things went a bit tits up 98 onwards mind, but that halcyon period cannot be overstated as far as I’m concerned.
Don’t just take my word for anyway; there’s an unreal documentary about them available on Sky at the minute called Of Mics and Men. Essential lockdown viewing.
If you want more Wu related stuff for me, which of course you do, here’s an old article I wrote on Skiddle.
You can listen to the show above