It’s an understatement to say seminal hip-hop collective, Wu-Tang Clan, set a standard for all of shows that will come follow at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN after their show on Sunday night.
The Mother Church of Country turned into “The Mother F’n Church of Hip-Hop,” if only for one night.
|Courtesy of The Ryman @theryman|
Founded in 1892, The Ryman Auditorium is a fixture in Nashville, hosting everyone from Johnny Cash, the Frist Jubilee Singers, Dolly Parton, The Grand Ole Opry, and even Elvis Presley (even if it was only one time). But this time the stage was home to RZA, GZA, “Young” Dirty Bastard, Inspectach Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Master Killa, Cappadonna, and Method Man performing, in “nearly” its entirety, the record that re-established New York hip-hop as a viable product; 1993’s “Enter the Wu-Tang” 36 Chambers.”
Along with “36 Chambers” the Clan also performed favorites from “Wu-Tang Forever” like “Reunited,” “Ice Cream” from Raekwon’s “Only Built 4 Cuban Links” and even Cappadonna got his moment with a verse from one of my personal favorite’s “Run” from his debut album, “The Pillage.”
The energy was high from the crowd from the beginning to the end.
|Courtesy @vaughnphillip via Instagram|
RZA led the way most of the show, appreciating the moment and getting the crowd hyped for what came next, and was more than happy the spray Moet into the crowd and even give those in the front row some much deserved Hennessy. I’m sure it Captain Tom Ryman new that one day Hennessy and Moet would cover the floors of his beloved Tabernacle Church he probably wouldn’t believe you.
Other highlights included the DJ interlude from resident Wu DJ, Mathematics, who, little trivia for you, actually created the Might Wu “W” that so many guests had adorned on their shirts and hats. There was also the inclusion of Street Life into the show as he joined Method Man for a few verses of “Grid Iron Rap.”
But hey, there is always a nit pick with shows like this.
|Courtesy of @graperunner via Instagram|
With the group all nearly in late 40s or early 50s, you could see the energy tamper out about an hour into the show, namely GZA. At times he seemed pretty disengaged from the show and walked off stage numerous times, including during the encore of Ghostface’s “Charchez La Ghost.” Sure, the show seemed to have broken down by then as the remained members starting letting audience members on the stage to start dancing, but hey, it’s all in fun.
And as any hip-hop show goes, the audio is always tricky. The background music drowned out the MCs more often than not, but if you’ve ever been to a rap show, you probably know this is a pretty regular occurrence, and the typical motif of every member of the Wu rapping over each other.
But those are quibbles that in no way took away from what this show really was; a moment in Nashville, and Ryman, history that can’t be taken away. A historic rap collective put it’s stamp on a city that many people blame for being “New Nashville” and not the Nashville they grew up with. Sure, this might open up more doors for hip-hop to be a more common occurrence at the Ryman, but a generational group like Wu-Tang Clan won’t be around “forever.”