From Shaolin to the Twin Cities: The Wu-Tang Clan at First Ave.


Ben Stork

Hip hop, according to the sampled interviewer at the end of the Wu-Tang Clan’s 1993 debut Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers), is “music you gotta touch and feel” and though he hadn’t “had the chance to see y’all”—the Wu—“live yet” he remained sure they’d deliver the goods. This is a sentiment I’ve shared since hearing Enter the Wu Tang in rural Vermont some 12 years ago, though I was slightly less certain about what it would be like to see them live. This tinge of skepticism stemmed primarily from the sheer size of the Wu and the intricacy and intensity with which they exchange verses, the seemingly impossible spectacle of nine members spitting staccato rhymes over grimy beats all on the same stage.

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