The Wu-Tang Clan almost never existed, according to a recent interview CNN conducted with RZA.
Apparently Meth nearly died in a drive-by shooting before the crew even formed. RZA details the incident in his forthcoming book, The Tao of Wu, writing that Meth was walking to buy marijuana at 160 Park Hill Avenue in Staten Island —the house in Wu-Tang’s “Protect Ya Neck” video — when, by chance, RZA saw him from across the street.
“Come over here, yo!” he beckoned. “[Meth] stopped and came running over. A few seconds later — pow-pow-pow-pow-pow! — a guy started shooting up the front of 160. A buddy of ours, Poppy, an innocent, school-going, nice guy — he was shot and killed right there.”
“Meth always brings it up … that that day saved his life,” the seminal producer told CNN. “He actually said, if it was anybody else calling him, he wouldn’t have came.”
That wasn’t the only incident that could have stopped the Wu from forming like voltron. Rza says in ’93 he was acquitted of an attempted murder charge. If convicted he would have had to serve eight years behind bars.
“Either one of those incidents could definitely have derailed [Wu-Tang],” he explained to CNN. “Of course, myself being the Abbot, the one who came with the idea, if I wouldn’t have made it out of that tumultuous time —it seemed like I wasn’t going to make it out of it; there was a lot of odds against me—but we stood strong, and self-defense made sense to the jury. We beat that.”
“It was the victory over that incident that made me change my whole direction,” he added. “In a way, it’s double-edged in that incident. One, if I would’ve lost that, yeah, Wu-Tang wouldn’t have happened, but also it’s the victory of it that inspired me and gave me the drive also to go and really get serious about Wu-Tang and the things I was dealing with.”
The Tao of Wu hits stores on Thursday (October 15). – Max G