Wu-Tang Clan, Club Revolution, Ft Lauderdale (by Sam Frank)
Wrapping up their North American tour, The Wu-Tang Clan, consisting of rappers Method Man, Raekwon the Chef, Ghostface Killah, The GZA, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, and U-God, brought the muthafuckin’ ruckus to South Florida hip hop fans last Friday at Ft. Lauderdale €™s Club Revolution.
It was an evening filled with highs and lows (no pun intended) as most audience members waited more than five hours for clan members to hit the stage. Then, at half past midnight, like a hip hop S.W.A.T. team, each member came out one at a time in what appeared to be order of rank among the lyrical faction. StreetLife was the first member to jump on stage, and his presence raised the crowd €™s enthusiasm to tropical storm levels, but by the time Raekwon, Ghostface, and Method Man hit the stage that level had intensified like a hurricane over warm waters.
The only two people who missed the role call were the recently deceased Ol €™ Dirty Bastard (whose memory was honored throughout the show) and The RZA, but that wasn €™t enough to stop the rest of the Wu from tossing out lyrics like Chinese stars throughout such seminal classics as ‘M.E.T.H.O.D. Man’, ‘Protect Ya Neck’, and ‘C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)’ from the Clan €™s pioneering album, “Enter the 36 Chambers”.
Double-handed €œW € signs were in the air as clouds of ganja smoke fogged up the front of the stage. By the time the smoke cleared up there were at least 30 people on stage riding the RZA produced beats which poured out of Club Revolution €™s mediocre sound system. Other highlights of the evening came during Method Man €™s dark rendition of ‘Bring the Pain’ from the first “Tical” album, ‘Ice Cream’ from Raekwon €™s instant classic “Only Built 4 a Cuban Linx”, and Ghostface Killah singing ‘Back Like That’ from the new bangin’ album “Fishscale”, as he circled a girl from the audience who was brought on stage. And no Wu-Tang show would be complete without women on stage shakin their booties in honor of Ol €™ Dirty.
Ol €™ Dirty €™s memory was also revisited late in the show as Meth brought ODB €™s mother on stage to hear the audience pay tribute to her son as they sang the classic ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ off “Return To The 36 Chambers”. The GZA €™s son also flexed his rap muscles alongside Method Man as Raekwon chilled in front of the DJ booth chugging a bottle of Hennessy. The two hour performance concluded with Wu-Tang Forever €™s ‘Triumph’, in which most of the members got their verses in before the sound system went dead, forcing the audience to finish the song acappella.
For the past 13 years The Wu-Tang Clan have amazed hip hop fans with their uncanny lyrical prowess set to the backdrop of innovative production. That is the formula they have been using from the time they were selling their music out of car trunks to this day, and no matter how hip hop has evolved over the past decade The Wu-Tang have always found a way to thrive. Whether it €™s through solo albums, collaborations, movies, etc. these trailblazers have know how to commandeer attention from fans and peers, and proof of Wu-Tang €™s impact on hip hop can be found in artists such as 50 Cent, The Game, and Rick Ross. The only sad part of the Wu-Tang saga is the loss of Ol €™ Dirty Bastard, who simultaneously rapped while playing the part of hype man for his close friends.
The question raised by ODB €™s death was how Wu-Tang €™s live performance could maintain its integrity without its most controversial personality. I had the privilege of watching ODB live with Wu-Tang nine years ago when they toured with Rage Against The Machine, and every verse he spit echoed that fireball of charisma which was a badge he wore at every show. Being familiar with ODB €™s contribution to the live act fueled my skepticism this time around, but after attending this revamped €œreunion € tour I was convinced that the Wu-Tang Clan €™s live show still remains as solid as an Iron Flag. The crowd €™s high-powered roar after every song revealed that ODB €™s prominence will forever be a part of Wu-Tang €™s live show, and that is what will keep hip hop fans coming for more because, like Ol €™ Dirty Bastard, they like it raw!!!