Twenty years after the Wu-Tang Clan invaded and radically altered hip-hop, Shaolin’s finest are struggling to reunite for one more album. Here, a 10-part portrait of how the legendary group lives apart today.
A willowy production assistant - headset, clipboard, and all - has just wandered out of the swirling dust and Tennessee summer heat, and into the Wu-Tang Clan's trailer at Bonnaroo. She's come with enough temerity, bless her young heart, to request a set list. A set list? A set list? RZA is a bit wobbly on his feet and waving around a bottle of Robert Mondavi chardonnay while exhorting Method Man to take a hit off a blunt. Meth, wearing a shirt depicting Ol' Dirty Bastard as a kind of floating cloud god, is skeptical: "That ain’t that bomba ba!" He then points to his pal Redman, who has apparently been slacking on his moisturizing: "Your legs so ashy, I could write a Wu-Tang 'W' in that shit." In the corner, a peckish U-God is living vicariously through Ghostface Killah’s description of the lasagna in the artists’ tent. "“It was bangin’ bangin’?" U-God asks. "It was tight," Ghost says. "Had the peppers on there and shit." And in the back room, Masta Killa and a buddy are - yep - playing chess.