I had no idea Hulu was making a 10-episode series about the origins of the Wu-Tang Clan. I usually avoid biopics like the plague, but the draw of seeing all those personalities coming together to eventually make one of my all-time favorite albums is something I actively want to watch. And Hulu just announced they’ve cast some of Wu-Tang: An American Saga’s killer bees: Moonlight-starring Ashton Sanders will be playing Bobby Diggs (RZA) and Siddiq Saunderson will play Dennis Coles (Ghostface Killah). Also announced, we have Shameik Moore as Sha Rader, Marcus Callender as Power Grant, Zolee Griggs as Shurrie and Erika Alexander as Linda.
On Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the world was presented with a collective that had a chip on their shoulder and was so hungry that it seemed inevitable they’d fight their way to the top. The album was a concept album based on 70s Kung fu flicks just like their name: we were in the middle of a rap battle between the Shaolin and the Wu-Tang. RZA and the self-declared killer bees swarmed over the scene and created from scratch an experience you can live in, with its own world and language. It was something to behold, and there sure wasn’t anything else like it.
On the album, RZA’s beats, samples and sword fight montages were unlike anything else. And the guys had different rhythms that complimented each other flawlessly. They talked about each other like specialists. They made football and comic book references right next to each other, and their energy was relentless. The rappers basically made themselves into Street Fighter characters and every one of them had talent and charisma to spare. Just try to figure out your favorite. I always say Raekwon the Chef even though it’d be Masta Killa if he had more verses, but then there’s Ghostface, and Inspectah Deck really is underrated. Ol’ Dirty Bastard and GZA are classic too of course, and RZA’s always on point, and how is it exactly I haven’t said Method Man yet?
They made a language together that maintained over all their solo albums—RZA had a five year plan, after all, and demanded a unified perfection from his production. They made a world together. And everyone in the collective (yes, U-God too, I know I haven’t mentioned him yet) played their part in this. Now, with Wu-Tang: An American Saga we’re getting to experience how these men (and the friends, family and enemies behind them) actually created this experience, and why.
Will it break down the magic knowing how they did it? Hardly. Knowing how they built what they did against all odds can only make me respect these guys even more. Count me in, Hulu.
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