We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with (or at least that’s how the song went): Over just a few years, the Staten Island nine made some of the bravest, most crucial hiphop of the ’90s. The Wu-Warriors’ ’93 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), is a bona fide masterpiece that showcases eight mike battlers at their best as they scramble for attention over RZA’s dark and hard production (weird strings, kung-fu-movie dialogue, angular soul samples). Then came a wave of excellent, RZA-produced solo discs—Method Man’s Tical, Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, and Genius/GZA’s Liquid Swords—which only made the Clan seem all the more invincible. But ultimately, Wu Tang would become a victim of its own success: With Enter the Wu-Tang hanging like an albatross around the band’s collective neck, nothing that came after that disc could really measure up. Only RZA’s largely instrumental soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog would prove to be as epochal as any of those first solo recordings. Until this past December: Though it isn’t exactly a Re-turn to the 36 Chambers, Iron Flag, the group’s latest, is 2001’s best example of a solid hiphop album. All bright blaxploitation horns and wahed-out guitars, “Uzi (Pinky Ring)” alone is enough to justify any group’s existence. “Face it, the Wu is back”—and in D.C. at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $35. (202) 393-0930. (Brent Burton)