Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthing ta fuck with.
Earlier today, British radio DJ and long-time supporter of all things hip-hop Tim Westwood uploaded an essential ‘90s rap document – a 50-minute Wu-Tang Clan freestyle, recorded in London in 1997. The recording has been available through nefarious channels for some time, but it’s now available to stream and download right from the source.
The band had just arrived in the country (RZA references London’s Heathrow Airport in the first few minutes) and to hear them thirsty, drunk on Bailey’s Irish Cream and at the top of the game is just the kind of thing you need to remember that they were the fucking greatest. Hearing Ol’ Dirty Bastard spitting so furiously that he actually clips the recording should have rap nerds punching the air with glee (guilty as charged).
In 1997, the Wu-Tang Clan were untouchable. It was the year of Wu-Tang Forever, which may have been more uneven than its unsurpassable predecessor, but showed a band reveling in ambition and pushing the boundaries of raw, NY rap at a time when no other group even came close. They were a rare act who were comfortable on MTV (who remembers trading VHS copies of ‘Triumph’?) but never lost sight of the Staten Island streets.