'Wu-Tang is a spoonful of positivity': RZA talks 'American Saga' Season 2 and 'Wu-Tang Is for the Children' movement
Fans of the seminal rap ensemble Wu-Tang Clan were generally thrilled by 2019’s first season of Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and the show’s first 10 episodes barely scratched the surface on the seismic contributions the New York supergroup would ultimately make to the hip-hop landscape.
Season 1 of the Clan’s fictionalized biography was mostly a precursor on their inevitable grouping, kicking off so early in Wu’s timeline with the series premiere showing Raekwon (Shameik Moore) nearly killing future partner-in-rhyme Ghostface Killah (Siddiq Saunderson), and ultimate ringleader Bobby Diggs, aka RZA (Ashton Sanders) caught in the middle of their spat.
So fans should really dig Season 2, which not only depicts the original nine-man crew also including the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard (TJ Atoms), Method Man (Dave East), GZA (Johnell Xavier Young), Inspectah Deck (Uyoata Udi), Masta Killa (JaQwan J. Kelly) and U-God (Damani Sease) assembling, but the making of 1993’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), an instantly classic masterpiece that changed the face of hip-hop.
“Season 1 we had a chance to look at Wu, pre-36 Chambers, and still kind of scattered. And in Season 2 we get to see the Wu combine, unify and record the 36 Chambers album,” RZA tells Yahoo Entertainment during a recent virtual interview (watch above).
“I know I’m [one of the creators] of that album, but beyond my own participation, it’s definitely considered an iconic, groundbreaking album for hip-hop and for music. And so it’s really a joy that we get to re-enact those stories and share them with the world. Because for me, this is just for me, Wu-Tang is a spoonful of positivity.”
RZA’s description of the group — which has long documented grimy tales of drug-peddling, drive-bys and surviving a volatile lifestyle in the projects of Staten Island — calls to mind a motto that fans have adopted and passed onto the next generation: “Wu-Tang Is for the Children.” The slogan has spawned a clothing line, and the producer, rapper and filmmaker is known to share collections of photos from Wu fans with their kids in the apparel on social media.
“That’s one of the greatest joys. But there’s a little bit of bitterness because ODB is the one who said that first,” RZA says, referring to the 1998 Grammy Awards where ‘Ol Dirty Bastard commandeered the stage after Wu-Tang lost Best Rap Album to Puff Daddy and the Family six years before dying of a drug overdose in 2004.
“He meant it so much. We used to talk about that all the time. Even though there was profanity in the language, he was like, ‘Nah, we’re giving people the real when others [are] giving them the fake. And so we gotta be for the children.' I just thought that that was so enlightening… Don’t judge the book by the cover. Dig deeper.”
Wu-Tang: An American Saga Season 2 is now streaming on Hulu.
Watch the trailer:
— Video produced by Olivia Schneider and edited by Valerie Volpacchio