The Story Of Wu-Tang Clan (DVD Review)


It has to be told. Nine rag-tag ruffians from the most unforgiving parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn become world-renown musical icons. Their story transcends the 90’s New York Hip-Hop scene with equal parts melodrama and redemption.

Narrated by director Gerald “Gee Bee” Barclay and sponsored by BET, The Story Of Wu-Tang Clan is fodder for that classical archive of post-soul tragic-comedies; the same tales that haunted the ghosts of great American musicians like the Temptations and Elvis Presley, MC Hammer and Tina Turner.

Barclay, who also directed some of the Wu’s earlier videos, punctuates the group’s uncanny rise from obscurity to immortality with candid interviews with the group’s childhood friends like Sheldon Lewis, Gano Grills, and Popa Wu.

The film concentrates on 1993, when Wu was on the verge of stardom, supplying original footage of the crew from the local TV show, New York Party Scene, hosted by Darrell “Lefty” Glover. Spliced with riotous concert clips as well, The Story Of Wu-Tang Clan captures the incendiary cult-following the group created.

The Hip-Hop aficionados of the industry also give their kudos to the Clan on the film. XXL music editor Anslem Samuel and former radio DJ Bobbito chime in about the group’s significance to the genre. Perhaps it’s former A & R, Bonz Malone, who most succinctly encapsulates the Clan’s appeal, “ It’s that old school sh*t man that you hear in somebody basement. Their beats is like a cassette tape like a TDK 60 minute or a Memorex 90 minute…”

The documentary also doubles up as a tribute to Old Dirty Bastard, following the late rapper’s last days before his untimely death in 2004. Old Dirty, arguably the group’s most charismatic performer, struggled with drugs, a battle which landed him jail time in Clinton Correctional for a spell. The fifteen minutes of the film serves as a video vigil celebrating his short but impactful life.

The Story Of Wu-Tang Clan is the concise fable of Hip-Hop’s most cherished practitioners, balancing between informative and nostalgic. It’s an echoing memento of the best of 90’s Hip-Hop. Yet, the Clan’s influence is so rippling, that we’re not forgetting anytime soon.

The Story Of Wu-Tang Clan Trailer