Wu-Tang Clan: Tiny Desk Concert The Clan celebrates its 25th anniversary with an old-school cipher at the Tiny Desk.

Tiny Desk

Wu-Tang Clan

The Wu-Tang Clan gathered at the Tiny Desk to commemorate the 25 years since the release of the group's landmark album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). With more than 60 albums between the various members, The Clan's combined discography left them spoiled for choice when it came to narrowing down the set list for their performance. The result was an extended, 20-minute medley of songs from across the group's iconic catalog.

The retrospective mashup of Wu classics started with the posse cut "Triumph." Backed by strings (The Green Project), the performance morphed into an old-school cipher as Raekwon, Inspectah Deck and Cappadonna traded verses with GZA, Masta Killa and U-God. Young Dirty Bastard, son of original member Ol' Dirty Bastard, provided a spark of energy reminiscent of his father.

At one moment in the performance, RZA — the mastermind behind the Clan's success — omits some explicit lyrics from earlier in his Wu journey, while alluding to the #MeToo movement mid-cadence. But it's the poetic interlude, read from his phone at the close of the set, that better reflects his current state of consciousness. "Wu-Tang is for the kids!" RZA proclaims. The core of the group began as childhood pals in Staten Island in the early '90s, when the crew's creative philosophy was influenced by everything from Saturday afternoon kung-fu flicks to the spiritual wisdom of the Five-Percent Nation. As they've matured, Raekwon still describes the Wu as "superfriends." They've allowed each other to grow and form various offshoots in recent years. But when the Wu-Tang Clan comes together, they still bring a love for the culture and for their brotherhood.

Set List

  • "Wu Classics"

Credits

Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kaylee Domzalski, Maia Stern, Bronson Arcuri, CJ Riculan; Editor: Kaylee Domzalski; Production Assistant: Brie Martin; Photo: Cameron Pollack/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Stella Donnelly performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 22, 2018. Cameron Pollack/NPR/Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR/Cameron Pollack/NPR

Stella Donnelly

Watch the Australian singer-songwriter perform three new songs from her upcoming full-length debut, Beware of the Dogs.

Buddy performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 4, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Buddy

The preacher's son from Compton brought his flair for the dramatic, and an air of rebellion, to the Tiny Desk.

Amy Grant performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Nov. 7, 2018. Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Amy Grant

Amy Grant maps her fabulous, four-decade career with some of her coziest and heartfelt Christmas songs, not to mention a delightful version of "Jingle Bells."

Trouble Funk performs a Tiny Desk concert on April 9, 2018. Eslah Attar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eslah Attar/NPR

Trouble Funk

We squeezed 12 go-go musicians behind the Tiny Desk. Watch what ensued.

Tyler Childers performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 8, 2018 (Eslah Attar/NPR). Eslah Attar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eslah Attar/NPR

Tyler Childers

Tyler Childers writes songs about hard lives and hard love with direct heart and a soulful Kentucky drawl.

Vagabon performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 31, 2018 (Jenna Sterner/NPR). Jenna Sterner/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jenna Sterner/NPR

Vagabon

Laetitia Tamko, the artist known as Vagabon, is a 25-year-old, Cameroon-born musician with a big, tenor voice just bursting with new musical ideas.

Big Daddy Kane performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 8, 2018 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Big Daddy Kane

One of the greatest to ever bless the mic treated the Tiny Desk audience to an office block party.

Betsayda Machado performs a Tiny Desk concert on Oct. 20, 2017. Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR

Betsayda Machado y Parranda El Clavo

The Afro-Venezuelan collective brings the boisterous parranda sound to the Tiny Desk.

Nick Hakim performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 13, 2018 (Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR). Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR

Nick Hakim

The music of Nick Hakim occupies a space and time that feels out of this world, with songs that explore the quietude of inner thoughts.

Back To Top