WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN (2018)
This limited docuseries looks back on the group's career, combining intimate and reflective interviews from each of the nine living members with never-before-seen archival footage and performances. Their ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit brought them together to overcome the poverty, violence and oppression of their New York neighborhoods. But it was music and their shared lyrical genius that allowed them to form the most recognized musical movement in the world, all while walking the tightrope that links business with brotherhood.
Robert Diggs knew that there was something special about the way he and his friends from Staten Island and Brooklyn told stories. They were apostles of hip hop culture, fans of kung fu cinema, members of the Five Percent Nation. They were survivors. Brilliant kids with absolutely no social capital. Then they cut a song - “Protect Ya Neck” - and the world hasn’t been the same since. The RZA, The GZA, ‘Ol Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon The Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Cappadonna, Masta Killa and Method Man were on their way.
Wu-Tang Clan’s underground rap single starts to blow up and business moved fast. RZA, along with his brother Mitchell “Divine” Diggs, Oliver “Power” Grant, John “Mook” Gibbons and Michael “Lask” McDonald, come together on behalf of the Wu-Tang cause. If there were mistakes made along the way, it didn’t matter. The rise to the top felt good and they were enjoying the view. Despite their success, things were still going on back home in the projects that affected their friends and family — the Wu weren’t immune to it. Nor were they bulletproof.
The sweet smell of success was intoxicating but the death of a friend changed the way each member saw the world and the Wu. The members would all go on to have successful solo careers, and the ‘W’ logo would rival McDonald’s Golden Arches. Wu-Tang’s global footprint was massive. They signed on to a major US tour with Rage Against the Machine. But some of the guys became concerned about alienating their core black audience. On top of that, the group believed they weren’t earning what they should have for their participation.
Twenty-five years in, a family meditates on its affairs and looks to cement a legacy. ‘Ol Dirty is dead. Everybody has gone solo. The ‘W’ is starting to fade. The RZA embarks on a world tour with Wu-Tang Superfan Cilvaringz. Under RZA’s tutelage, Cilvaringz becomes a rapper and producer in his own right, but differences over Cilvaringz's album create a new crisis for the Wu. Yet through it all, Wu-Tang Clan, their logo, their music, their message and their story remain indelible fixtures in the cultural history of music and America.