A New Documentary Shows Why Wu-Tang Is Forever For The Children (Video)
For Hip-Hop devotees across the globe, today (November 9) is annually marked as one of the most notable throughout the genre’s history. Twenty-five years ago today, A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan simultaneously offered up the groundbreaking efforts of Midnight Marauders and Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
The legend of November 9 will take on even more significance this turn around the calendar though, as not only has Wu-Tang officially been honored with the date being forever memorialized as “Wu-Tang Clan Day” in Staten Island, but the members of the Wu have also unveiled an engrossing cinematic production. In coordination with Sony Music’s “Certified Classics,” the Wu have issued a short film, For The Children: 25 Years Of Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), directed by Shomi Patwary.
The motion picture, which stands at just over 17 minutes long, of course, revisits and celebrates Wu-Tang’s crowning achievement in their 1993 debut album, but also conjointly examines the Wu’s entire development and pilgrimage over the two and a half decades since it’s release. Via the founding members themselves, along with help from some acquainted to the Killa Bees, the documentary dives into the makeup, mystique, and mastery of – according to Ambrosia For Heads readers – “the greatest Hip-Hop group of all-time.”
“36 Chambers, when you hear it, you’re hearing young men finding themselves and finding a way to express their selves,” RZA explains near the top of the film. Inspectah Deck explains how nine men took inspiration from the films they sampled and based many group members’ names off of to form a brotherhood that felt like real family. “It’s a family. It’s always been that; it still is,” Method Man affirms.
The Rebel INS explains that RZA’s production on Wu’s first album was an artistic reflection of a grimier New York City in a frigid season. “The beats matched. ‘Bring Da Ruckus’ had a snare on there that was actually [recorded by a microphone from] underneath a paint bucket. RZA slapped with a ruler or a spoon or something,” reveals the CZARFACE member. “You got that snare. You’ll hear it the next time you listen.” RZA pointed out last night (November 8) at a screening event in Brooklyn, that “Bring Da Ruckus” closing sound is him sampling a skipping CD. AFH was on hand for the conversation.
DJ Mathematics, who made the beats for Wu’s last LP (2017’s The Saga Continues), explains how the “again and again” factor for Wu’s initial single “Protect Ya Neck” was real. Playing the demo in a club in his homeland of Queens, New York, the DJ/producer formerly known as Allah Mathematics made sure that Heads heard it. And they wanted more. While Kid Capri broadcast the song to the Big Apple and tri-state at WBLS, RZA said last night that Princeton, New Jersey’s college station, WPRB was actually the first take a chance on debut 12″.
Also at the live interview, Raekwon stressed how some members of Wu, including himself, wanted Hip-Hop fans to “We wanted people to recognize the fifth borough, the forgotten borough. We wanted to be heard and seen.” Aside from The U.M.C.’s and Force MDs (both of whom would work with Clan members later on), Staten Island’s respect in Hip-Hop was tepid prior to Wu-Tang. “Now it’s time to talk about Staten Island aka Shaolin!”
Method Man credits O.D.B. “Even if there wasn’t a Wu-Tang, there probably still would’ve been an Ol’ Dirty Bastard. His cadence was the illest in the game. You could never get him to say the rhyme the same way twice.” Ghostface makes a powerful point about his fallen brother. “[When he died], Ol’ Dirty was about to become 36 years old. Right? But the killer is, when you look at his first album [it is called] Return To The 36 Chambers. Right? Where’d he die at? He died in 36 Chambers [Studios]. So he returned back to the essence at 36 Chambers at 36 years old.” Two days before his birthday, on November 13, 2004, the MC/producer born Russell Jones died in Wu-Tang’s Midtown Manhattan recording studio of a drug overdose.
The living members of Wu (Ol’ Dirty Bastard passed away 14 years ago this month) candidly narrate the formation of the group, the complexity of their development, the composition of the music itself, and the indelible impact and legacy they have established with their accomplishments. Pairing second-hand accounts from Young Dirty Bastard (O.D.B.’s first-born son), Joey Bada$$, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg (who credits 36 Chambers for sounding “fresh as f*ck, still,” and Gary Vaynerchuk, the short film is packed with insight and anecdotes detailing the royal members of Hip-Hop.
For a documentary titled Wu-Tang Is For The Children, the closing segment features members explaining the significance of the statement popularized by O.D.B. Masta Killa in particular breaks down the importance of planting seeds. As group members work with Logic, Ferg, Flatbush Zombies, Joey Purp, Mick Jenkins, Benny The Butcher, and maintain a host of homegrown talent since the ’90s, Wu does pay it forward. They vow to maintain that quality for another 25 years and beyond.
When combining both the group and solo projects, the Wu-Tang Clan have amassed and had their collective hand in a mammoth total of nine gold and nine platinum studio albums. While there have been stretches of time (even recently) that a Wu reunion may have seemed grim at best, and a majority of the 25 years since their debut have been spent pursuing solo endeavors, there is no doubt that they are at their greatest in amiable unison. As RZA explains in the film, “It’s wise to always come back together. There’s a different energy, a different force when we combine.”
2018 has been a busy year for the Wu swordsmen. Inspectah Deck’s CZARFACE group partnered with MF DOOM to release CZARFACE Meets Metal Face. Along with his memoir, U-God released Venom. Last month, Ghost’ dropped The Lost Tapes. On December 11, Method Man will drop The Meth Lab II.
Sony’s “Certified Classics” division will also release a limited run of Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” single as a special Die-Cut 10” picture-disc in the shape of the legendary Wu-Tang logo (created by Mathematics). The reissue features the original 12″‘s B-side “Da Mystery Of Chessboxin’.” It will be available on December 14. There are t-shirt bundles also available.
Wu-Tang Clan press photograph provided by Sony Records.
Additional Reporting by Jake Paine and Parfit.