I have some unfortunate news for everyone: There are hip-hop fans in the world who cannot name the nine members of the Wu-Tang Clan (well, 10 if you count Cappadonna). I know they exist because I've met one. It's a sad day when you start doubting whether Wu-Tang is indeed forever.
But rather than mope around and whine about the dismal state of hip-hop or hip-hop fandom, just go out to a show. The Wu-Tang Clan's GZA will be coming to Porter's Pub at UCSD on Tuesday. The GZA, often also called the Genius, is known as the wisest MC and elder statesmen in the crew (though at this point, I guess they're all elder statesmen of hip-hop). In 1995, he dropped his second solo effort, Liquid Swords, a cold, dark album widely regarded as one of the best releases from the Wu-Tang camp.
Unlike the rest of his Wu-Tang brethren, GZA has a slow, deliberate flow that's very old school, very laid-back. Instead of relying on lyrical gymnastics, he chooses his words carefully, methodically, making sure each of them cut deep. He has a complex metaphorical style with gripping imagery and references to chess, kung-fu flicks and 5 Percenter philosophy. If you haven't entered the "Cold World" or read the "Labels," I highly recommend you do. And after you do, go throw up your W's for GZA. Wu-Tang may or may not be forever. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't preserve it for as long as we can.
Quan Vu is the founder and editor of local music blog sdRAPS.com. He has also written about local and national hip-hop acts for San Diego CityBeat and the San Diego Reader. You can nerd out on rap trivia by becoming BFF's on Facebook or e-mailing him directly.