The Wu-Tang Clan, one of hardcore rap's most influential acts, will headline The Big Easy on Friday, Dec. 28. All eight living original members will be there: RZA, GZA/Genius, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah (my favorite), U-God, Inspectah Deck and Masta Killa. Missing, of course, will be the incomparable Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who died in 2004.
It’s a challenge to convey just how massive the Wu-Tang Clan was during its heyday in the ’90s. The members' solo careers and cross-marketing attacks reached a breathtaking number of consumers. Wu-Tang also changed rap. Their first single, “Protect Ya Neck,” essentially reinvented the “posse cut.” Most hip-hop aficionados considered having three rappers in a track to be a posse cut. Wu-Tang blasted out of Staten Island, N.Y., in 1992 with a smokin’ single powered by EIGHT MCs, one after the other after the other. It was like a sonic machine gun. (Ninth member Masta Killa was in the slammer, so he wasn't in the song.)