The Wu-Tang Clan comes to Philly next Thursday and Friday. I didn’t buy tickets because they’re going for around $100 right now, but maybe I’ll end up splurging.
I was sitting here thinking, “how can I work Wu-Tang Clan into the website?” They don’t have anything to do with Philly sports, though I remember Ghostface Killah said the following at the Roots’ Picnic in 2010, shortly after his Yankees beat the Phils in the World Series.
“That cat Chase Utley is pretty good. I’m from New York, but if I wasn’t from New York I wouldn’t mind being from Philly.”
That’s not a bad compliment at all. I’ll take it.
Now that we’re done with the lede, here’s every Wu-Tang member and their Philadelphia sports counterpart:
The RZA = Darren Daulton
The leader of the 1993 Phillies, Dutch (RIP) was universally loved by pretty much everybody in town. Similarly, the RZA is Wu-Tang’s spiritual leader, the man who made the beats, produced the records, and essentially fronted the group. He was the Clan’s founder and de-facto point person, the guy who steered the ship and put the group on the map. If Mitch Williams and Old Dirty Bastard were throwing pitches into the dirt, Daulton and the RZA were putting their body in front of the ball.
“hey yo, camouflage chameleon, ninjas scalin’ your buildin’
No time to grab the gun they already got your wife and children
A hit was sent, from the President, to rage your residence
Because you had secret evidence, and documents”
The GZA = Malcolm Jenkins
GZA the Genius, Wu-Tang’s oldest member, the savvy veteran. Wise, thoughtful, and laid back, just like the Eagles’ Pro Bowl safety and team captain.
“My preliminary attack keep cemetaries packed
Of ****** who think it ain’t like that
MC’s are gunned down like being run down with mad trucks
Them God-struck, religious ****** call it bad luck”
Old Dirty Bastard = Lenny Dykstra
A couple of unique characters.
Lenny Dykstra and the ODB were both clever and full of talent, a couple of fan-favorites back in the day. When these guys were actually lucid, they were among the best in their respective roles, but injuries and disappearances and all sorts of other shit led to inconsistent and rocky careers. Then came the legal issues, substance abuse, and getting arrested at a Gray’s Ferry McDonalds, which happens to the best of us.
Inspectah Deck = John LeClair
Maybe the Clan’s most underrated member, perhaps because he didn’t have a flashy solo career or dabble in movies or other media. He was just consistent and steady in every Wu-Tang track, a guy who sort of flew under the radar but deserves a lot of plaudits for the group’s success.
Similarly, John LeClair was steady and reliable. He didn’t receive the headlines and attention that Eric Lindros did, but you always knew what you were going to get from him. Great things happened when he was on the ice, and consistent quality year-in and year-out is why Inspectah Deck is John LeClair.
“I bomb atomically, Socrates philosophies
And hypotheses can’t define how I be droppin’ these
Mockeries, lyrically perform armed robbery
Flee with the lottery, possibly they spotted me”
Raekwon the Chef = Reggie White
If Raekwon was the sack leader on 36 Chambers, then Only Built 4 Cuban Linx got him his Super Bowl ring.
Another consistent Clan MC, Raekwon delivered on pretty much every verse he appeared on. His partnership with Ghostface and Method Man on the trio’s various solo albums probably made up the strongest portion of the post-36 Chambers Wu catalogue. You might say his career paralleled White’s as a standout performer both with the Eagles/Clan and Packers/solo.
“Thug-related style attract millions, fans
They understand my plan, who’s the kid up in the green Land?
Me and the RZA connect, blow a fuse, you lose
Half-ass crews get demolished and bruised”
U-God = Freddie Mitchell
He didn’t contribute as much as other members because he was incarcerated during most of the recording of 36 Chambers. That’s probably the main reason why he’s often referenced as the least important of the nine, a fringe guy surrounded by more well-known rappers.
But U-God had some really important verses for the Wu. His opening verse in “Da Mystery of Chessboxing” is just as much a part of the Shaolin fabric as Freddie Mitchell’s 4th and 26 reception against the Packers back in 2004. U-God is a member of the team, but he’s more like a WR3 instead of Terrell Owens.
“Raw I’ma give it to ya, with no trivia
Raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia
My hip-hop will rock and shock the nation
Like the Emancipation Proclamation
Weak MC’s approach with slang that’s dead
You might as run into the wall and bang your head”
Ghostface Killah = Charles Barkley
I’d argue that Ghostface is similar to Sir Charles because they both probably found more success outside of their starting points. Ghost had strong verses on the Wu albums, but most people would probably tell you that his lines on Cuban Linx, Iron Man, and Supreme Clientele probably stand out a bit more.
It’s the same thing for Charles, who started his career in Philly and then went on to win his MVP award in Phoenix. He was one hell of a player for the Sixers but was equally successful, if not more successful, in pretty much everything else that came later, which he was able to parlay into a thriving broadcasting career.
On another note, Ghostface has a rapping style that mimics Barkley’s delivery. It’s a stream of consciousness, a blend of words that sometimes doesn’t seem to make sense, but for some reason you feel like you understand exactly what he’s trying to say.
“Scientific, my hand kissed it
Robotic, let’s think optimistic
You probably missed it, watch me Dolly Dick it
Scotty Wotty copped it to me, big microphone hippie
Hit Poughkeepsie, crispy chicken, verbs, throw up a stone, Richie
Chop the O, sprinkle a little snow inside a Optimo
Swing the John McEnroe”
Method Man = Joel Embiid
Universally recognized? Check.
Sharp wit? Check.
Larger than life characters? Check.
I’m not sure I’ve heard any hip hop fan ever say a negative thing about Method Man, who probably went on to have the most successful overall career. He dropped solo albums and singles, appeared in movies, collaborated with Redman and Mary J. Blige and still does a lot of guest appearances.
Likewise, Joel Embiid probably has the highest ceiling and biggest potential among current Philly athletes.
“You could never capture the Method Man’s stature
For rhyme and for rapture, got ***** resigning, now master
My style? Never!
I put the fucking buck in the wild kid, I’m terror
Razor sharp, I sever
The head from the shoulders, I’m better, than my competta
You mean competitor, whatever, let’s get together”
Masta Killa = Nick Foles
Masta Killa was the last member to join the Clan. He was young at the time and a hip-hop late bloomer compared to the rest of the group. Somewhat quiet, sure, but he would always show up with a great verse and in recent years he’s taken a more prominent leadership role with the Clan while releasing one of the best post-2000 albums in No Said Date.
He’s Nick Foles. He isn’t your starting quarterback of the future, but you can’t overlook his contributions. Masta Killa is always there, ready to get the job done when called upon.
“Be on the lookout for this mass murderous suspect
That fills more body bags than apartments in projects
And as far as the coroners know
The autopsy show it was a Shaolin blow
Put on by my family brought to the academy
Of the Wu and learnt how to
Fuck up your anatomy steadily, calm and deadly”
Cappadonna = A.J. Feeley
Cappadonna was not an original Wu Tang member but appeared on the group’s solo albums as early as 1995 and basically just assumed the ODB’s role after he died.
Therefore, Cappadonna is A.J. Feeley, or even Jeff Garcia or any other non-Foles backup QB who came in, did a decent job, and carved out a piece of Philly lore for himself.
“I twist darts from the heart, tried and true
Loop my voice on the LP
Martini on the slang rocks, certified chatterbox
Vocabulary ‘Donna talking, tell your story walking
Take cover kid, what? Run for your brother, kid”