Legend Of The Wu-Tang: The Videos (DVD)

Artist: DVD ReviewTitle: Legend Of The Wu-Tang: The Videos (DVD)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jason Newman

Compiling all of Wu-Tang Clan's videos on one DVD, Legend of the Wu-Tang: The Videos (Loud/RCA/Legacy) is an illuminating study in frustration. Arranged chronologically and covering every group release, what starts out as excitement over a new sound-sh*t, an era-defining sound–morphs into questions one should never ask himself. Why is Bokeem Woodbine fighting ninjas in 20,000 BC? Is RZA dressed like a killer bee or an evil angel? You get the idea.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the trajectory of their videos, all of which are included here, parallels nicely with their music. The griminess and low-grade quality of the earlier videos, a technique rooted in necessity over choice, was a perfect visual accompaniment to their raw debut. "Protect Ya Neck" alone should already have a spot reserved in the Smithsonian. But gradually, as the DVD shows, clubs replace projects, limos replace SUVs, and golddiggers replace, well, no women at all. Also, (sadly to most) another perfect visual accompaniment. Seeing these videos chronologically go from Enter The Wu-Tang's dirty "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F' Wit" to the higher-quality, signs-of-excess of Wu-Tang Forever’s "It's Yourz/Older Gods", it's striking to see how vastly different the videos (and by extension, the group) became.

For the Wu video completists, if there are any, this will be a goldmine. (It certainly beats hours of figuring out how to download YouTube videos.) While the extra videos (Masta Killa's "Old Man" and an alternate version of "Method Man") aren't particularly necessary, a previously unreleased documentary from 1994 is an excellent addition, interspersing interviews from when members were at their hungriest with rare live performances from that era. What's a dream extra? Getting them all in a room now and listening to them discuss their first videos. And finding out who wanted to dress up like a caveman. But you can't expect too much.