Tribeca Film Festival Presents “Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men”

Jillian Ortiz, Chief Copy Editor Emeritus

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Photo/ Sue Kwon

“Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit.” Perhaps one of the group’s most notable tracks off of their 1993 debut album, “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).” It’s been nearly 26 years since the original nine-piece package deal changed the Hip-Hop game and showed that it is true — Wu was not here to play games.

In fact, Wu-Tang was here to make moves. Anybody that knows the Clan knows that, at its core, it is a business. And I’m not saying that as a Hip-Hop fan. Robert F. Diggs said it himself.

The nine living members of Wu-Tang Clan recount their come-up story through intimate interviews and captured moments on film in “Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men,” directed by Sacha Jenkins.

Jenkins, known for past works such as “Fresh Dressed” and “Word is Bond” allows for the story of Wu-Tang to be told by Wu-Tang themselves (and a few colleagues). Although each member recounts their story through interviews in director’s chairs, RZA pioneers the story of Wu. Masta Killa takes viewers back to the place where he grew up — where his father would play him records. He reminisces on playing records, and how hearing them play reminded him of his father. The members recall the discrimination they faced when they were just nine years old growing up in Staten Island, continuing through their adolescent years at New Dorp High School. Even as they encountered fame the racial discrimination did not cease; footage shows police harassing the group during a photo shoot, attempting to search their vehicles.

Viewers are able to see the raw dynamic of the friendships that exist within the group, and how that has not changed since the group’s founding. Although they admit that they do not see each other as much as they used to, the group is always able to pick up right where they left off. Method Man tells us this not too far into the documentary, but the old clips and movie-theater scenes that put the men in one room are telling enough on their own.

The highs are accounted for, and the lows – such as the death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard in 2004 – are also considered but they are not the epicenter of the narrative. Jenkins touches upon the emotional portions of the journey by allowing the members to tell it themselves, along with features from family members and colleagues such as Nas and Havoc of Mobb Deep.

Much like the legendary literary masterpiece that is “Of Mice and Men,” this documentary delivers the tale of the Hip-Hop legends that were a watershed in their own genre. Wu-Tang, known individually as RZA, GZA, Inspectah Deck, Method Man, Raekwon, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Cappadonna, Masta Killa and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard, are names that have transcended far beyond the charts — they have left a permanent mark on music history and birthed a new generation of artists that narrate the dark realities few have dared to tell.

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