Hip-hop royalty is coming to Aotearoa thanks to Mai FM. The influential Wu-Tang Clan, alongside the equally prominent Nas, will be bringing their prowess to our shores for one show only, in May at Auckland’s Spark Arena.
Last time RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekown, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, Cappadonna, and U-God came to NZ (the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard was replaced with his son Young Dirty Bastard) was 2018, and every review I’ve been able to find says they delivered the heat to Auckland and Christchurch.
I couldn't make it to the last show, but after finding out what happened then, best believe I'm going to make it this time. If you were lucky enough to be there, relive it right now. If you weren't there, strap in and get ready to get hyped.
2018 marked the 25th anniversary of their highly praised, indisputably ground-breaking debut album ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). A tough task to live up to the reputation of that project, the New York collective did so using their talent, Gatorade, and even a Rick James cover.
Every track from '36 Chambers' was played at both of the two shows half a decade ago, with the distance in time between then and the album’s release not being obvious at all.
“It would seem that these New York artists have lost none of their fire; despite 36 Chambers now clocking in its 25th Anniversary, tracks from the 1993 album still sound as good as they always have in the hands of their creators,” Sarah Kidd wrote in Ambient Light Blog after she attended the show at Trusts Arena, Auckland.
Once they wrapped up '36 Chambers', they changed it up a bit, showing off each member’s own talent by covering songs “from ‘Duel of the Iron Mic’ through to a cover of Rick James' ‘Mary Jane’, the Wu-Tang members took turns to display their individual prowess for hip-hop,” Kidd added.
On the decks was DJ Mathematics, and he got mouthy with his equipment at one point. He showed off his skill by “working the decks with not only his hands but his mouth and even kicking off each shoe in a tongue-in-cheek bit of comedy schtick.”
They also knew how to get the crowd going. Comparisons to Australian crowds were often made and different sections of the audience were even pitted against each other by Wu-Tang. And it worked - the lucky fans in the front were just as involved as those all the way in the back.
“The pit was deep - one of the most committed I’ve seen in this venue,” wrote James Dann for RNZ Music, who saw the Clan at Christchurch’s Horncastle Arena. “Even the people seated in the top tier of the arena were on their feet for the most part”.
Method Man, at one point, stood as close to the crowd as possible before “pouring out cups of Gatorade for those in the front row.”
Imagine adding Nas - the mastermind behind ‘Illmatic’ (and still releasing bangers to this day) - to all that. That’s what’s on offer come May 9th in Tamaki Makaurau.