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Wu-Tang Clan Members Revisit ‘Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers’

Photos by Charles Steinberg |
Photo: Charles Steinberg |

Masta Killa: In a Shaolin school, there are students and then there are the abbots. The abbot would be the Kung fu instructor teaching the students the different styles. I would consider RZA to be that abbot. It was recorded at the Temple of the Shaolin, which was RZA’s house. You have these different styles, which is coming from the elements of what they’re studying and the chambers that they’re coming from. And we’re all meeting at this one place. It kind of surrounded what was ever on [RZA’s mind]. He could have just come from the block where there was a shootout, and that experience would transform right to the mic. These experiences through the music was so raw, the essence of it, because it was actually being lived.

“I’m listening to all these Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shanté and all these people, and I was like, I can do that. But can I make a record and be successful at it? That’s where [RZA] came in…” —Inspectah Deck

Ghost: Me and RZA was always there. I’m the one that gave Wu-Tang the name. I’m the dude. He didn’t reach out to me, we just did it. My man—we fuckin’ sleep in the same house. He just had an idea and he was the only one that could carry it out. He executed it. You can talk about it all day, but if nobody’s executing it for you, you’re gonna be talking about it for the next 20 years. And that’s what he did, that’s why he’s the main piece other than me through those beats and stuff like that and being the nucleus to bring everybody together. That’s RZA’s position.

Deck: We were up every day coming out here on the Ferry just going to different labels. Loud, RCA, we went to Def Jam, we went all over the place and there was so much non-faith in what we had to bring to the table. But [RZA] was so strong about it. His energy, his drive, every morning, “Yo! I’m going to 34th Street. You want to come?” A lot of people don’t want to come. A lot of people are still on the block, still doing this and that but I was like, “Yeah, I’m coming.” Because I wanted to learn the other side of the fence. I wanted to know “What are you saying to these people? What are they saying to you?” I always wanted to make a record and be an MC but I never thought it would be possible. I’m listening to all these Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shanté and all these people, and I was like, I can do that. But can I make a record and be successful at it? That’s where [RZA] came in and just restructured everything that we were doing. Method Man was the king over here. I was the king over here. Raekwon was the king of that. Everybody was kings so he came and just handpicked everybody, pulled them together and was like, “We are going to be the Wu-Tang Clan.”

Ghost: Everybody was all-in. We wasn’t rich niggas. Everybody was all-in. We’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do that—that’s what we love to do. You know how music was at that time—everybody loved rap music. RZA had a good reputation with everybody. He’s the one that put us all together. He knew what he wanted, he had a vision, and it worked. It wasn’t easy at first, we was gettin’ turned down like anybody gets turned down, like, “Nah—too many of y’all.” But he made it work and that was it.

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