20 Years In The Game
Deck: Twenty years in retrospect, it feels good. I wish that shit would have been noticed back then. Not that it would have changed anything but it’s like being a leadoff hitter in Major League baseball. The pitcher is nervous to pitch to you because he knows that you are going to set the tone of the game. I could take the first pitch, first swing and go out the park fucking with me. That’s the approach that I took to this whole thing from day one. My mom, rest in peace, she’s been like a mentor to me through this whole thing. She don’t know anything about music but knows business and relationships and circumstances and things like that. She used to tell me all these different things. “When you get on that mic, you make sure they remember you were on that mic.” That’s my mom saying that. Never really listened to my lyrics or anything until one day I actually brought it to her and said, “What do you think about this?” I had to handpick songs where I’m not talking about a whole bunch of bullshit but she taught me a long time ago. Twenty years later, nobody killed each other, nobody went at each other’s heads. No real stories of Wu-Tang going after each other or breaking up because of money or this, that and a third. We have our issues but that’s like anybody.
Masta Killa: To say it would be a platinum album? I wasn’t thinking that far, because I was really green to the music industry and how the mechanics work. I know good music, no matter what genre or whether I’m a part of it or not. So I knew we had something very unique, and it was crazy to me—just the sound of it and the different voices. But I never imagined it would be global and that people would have our logo tatted on their faces. I never imagined that. [After 20 years] you should know about royalties and publishing. You should know the business of music. Anything you’re involved in business-wise, you should know the business of it. You just shouldn’t be talent because then you’ll just be talent for hire.
Meth: It’s alright. It’s alright. It’s bittersweet, like I said, it’s great to be doing something for 20 years, it’s great to be recognized as a pivotal group in the business. But in the same sense, the fame don’t reflect that shit; the profits don’t reflect the fame, at all. And it’s a constant struggle to stay relevant, or a constant struggle to keep some type of revenue coming in. ‘Cause at the end of the day, the same place the labels picked you up at, when they’re done with you they wanna drop you off there. And it’s up to you and what you do in order to maintain your lifestyle. I’m just glad that I just rhyme ’cause I want to, not ’cause I have to.
“RZA made a Kung fu movie last year. If that’s not screaming childhood fantasy, I don’t know what is. Rae’s living the lifestyle of a mobster and shit. Me? I got millions of pairs of sneakers and video games, shit that I didn’t have as a child.” —Method Man
[What's changed?] Zip codes. That’s as simple as I can put it—zip codes have changed. We’re all still the same dudes. At least, I feel like we’re the same dudes; you’d have to ask somebody on the outside looking in. I still see the child in all my niggas. And it’s funny, I can see it in the things they do. RZA made a Kung fu movie last year. If that’s not screaming childhood fantasy, I don’t know what is, you know what I mean? Rae’s living the lifestyle of a mobster and shit—childhood fantasy? Yeah. Me? I got millions of pairs of sneakers and video games, shit that I didn’t have as a child. So in that sense, yeah.
U-God: I’m glad to have a little than to have none. If I’d had none, I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you right now. I might have one and a half, but my one and a half shook the world. Praise the Lord, he gave me that one and a half, and from that one and a half, I’ve been crawling my way back to a whole. I made myself a whole person. That’s a beautiful thing. I think about that all the time. Even though I was in the dugout, I was in the can. Before you know it, they’ll probably give me a lifetime achievement award, probably give the whole Clan a lifetime achievement award. Because you know why? We keep moving forward.
[20 years?] It is what it is. I don’t feel strange about nothing. I’m happy to be doing this rather than have to dig in your pockets and go in your house and pull your hair out your head and take your glasses and steal your wallet. [Laughs] Nah, I’ll stop it. Be a detriment to society. Hip-hop saved my life. I’m just happy I’m still doing it and hopefully I can still be writing dope shit years down the line. We had no other choice but to last because we ain’t going back to our past.