The night of January 12th will forever go down in the annals of Hip Hop history as a packed NY crowd bore witness to the Return of the Wu. The Hammerstein Ballroom played host to the New York leg of the 8 Diagrams Tour. Minus the Abbot, the rest of the Clan arrived fashionably late to unleash an all-out assault on the restless concertgoers who were eagerly awaiting the Shaolin Swordsmen. Greeted by the chants of “Wu Tang!” the Clansmen flooded the stage with a 50 man strong entourage and got right into the thick of things by running through some of their riotous classics like “Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit” and “Bring Da Ruckus.” Method Man prowled the stage like a rabid pit-bull ready to attack, while Ghost floated from one end to another with the grace of a ghost. His partner-in-rhyme Raekwon played his post sizing up the crowd, bottle of bubbly in hand while the man with the golden arms, U-God popped in and out to spit his bars. Cappadonna traded verses with his brother Lounge Lo and Street Life played his part alongside Meth. GZA and Inspectah Deck held their own on a stage that was filled to the brim with Wu affiliates. Whereas a packed stage would normally distract from other artist’s stage show the Wu is notoriously known for their swelling numbers and they work the energy exchange from their entourage and the crowd into their routine. Method brought his A-Game with him this particular night, leaving nothing behind! When he wasn’t stage diving he was giving top notch renditions of “M-E-T-H-O-D Man” “RockWilder” “Bring Da Pain” and “What The BloodClot.” On his last joint instead of diving he actually stood on-top of the crowd, towering like a GOD while he nonchalantly spit his bars. Rae & Ghost dug into their bag of hits and showered the crowd with “Criminology” “Incarcerated Scarfaces” and “Fish.” GZA didn’t disappoint either as he served up “Liquid Swords” and the classical “4th Chamber.” Unflammable.
To bear witness to the chemistry between this 10 man unit (Masta Killa, Street Life & Lounge Lo subbing) without their figurehead leader, the RZA, one can only fantasize what kind of monumental event this would’ve been had the entire Clan been on the same page. Nonetheless, after being absent from in front of a New York crowd for several years (not counting their brief stint at Rock The Bells last summer) the Wu Killa Bees were on the attack like they had something to prove. Never one to forget, the Wu took a moment of silent to remember their fallen comrade ODB and brought out his mother Ms. Cherry who was showered with a word-for-word rendition of her son’s strongest hits, sung by his fans. The treats continued as they brought out Slick Rick the Ruler, eclipsing Tony Starks who moments earlier was basking in the glow of being the crown holder of trunk jewels as well as Erykah Badu who gave Raekwon an impromptu version of “Happy Birthday” serenading the chef on his “born-day.” And just like that, after 120 minutes of pure lyrical pandemonium it was all over and the Wu faithful who impatiently waited two hours for a dose of memorable Hip Hop could walk away definitely saying they’ve seen the best performance so far this year. By the look of many of their faces though, this might’ve been the performance of a lifetime (Yeah, it was that crazy!)
Editors Note: It is worth noting that the Clan didn’t perform one single joint off of 8 Diagrams but still were able to sonically transport you back into the mindset of when New York was New York and Hip Hop not only had substance but it transcended just music. It was a vehicle to teach, inspire and make you wanna get higher. I thought I was gonna come outside and see Ac’ Legends and Lexus’ parked up because thats the era that the Wu will forever embody. The nostalgic God Bodies are definitely a Hip Hop National Treasure.