Scott Gries/Getty Images
Sometimes one guy has to be in the front: Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon, live on stage at a release party for the 2001 album Iron Flag.
Sometimes one guy has to be in the front: Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon, live on stage at a release party for the 2001 album Iron Flag. Scott Gries/Getty Images
Today on All Things Considered, reporter Joel Rose has a great piece on how the Wu-Tang Clan's nine rappers have managed to mesh their distinct voices into a cohesive sound.
Mitchell Diggs, the CEO of Wu-Tang Corporation and brother of producer RZA, offers the story of the group's origins, and how the group resolves the differences that inevitably arise when you get nine big egos in a single room (or recording studio).
It's been a struggle at times. In 2008, Wu-Tang member U-God sued the group for $170,000 in allegedly unpaid performance, publishing and recording dues. Old Dirty Bastard spent time in prison before dying of a drug overdose in 2004. Private disputes over the sound and focus of the group's albums have spilled out into the press. While all nine of the group's central members have released solo albums, not all have been equally successful — and none has been able to transcend the draw of the group as a whole.
Advisory: This video contains so much swearing.
You can see some of that conflict in the video above (a trailer for a documentary by GZA). In the piece on All Things Considered, Diggs addresses some of these issues, but in his interview with Rose, he went even further, talking about how the group managed to stay together despite the differences of opinion, and how the group's success helped further the careers of the individual rappers who went out on their own. We've got that tape right here:
Mitchell Diggs: "We knew the music was gonna be forever."
Mitchell Diggs: "There's no way in the world you can feed all these guys on this check right here."