Wu-tang, originating from Staten Island, NY, aka Shaolin, burst onto the scene in the early 90’s. Ever since, the group has had a significant impact on a wide range of artistic mediums, including film. Whether it’s RZA spinning a slick, unique bass line to complement a flick, or Method Man lighting up an L and skeezing on Harvard chicks, the Clan is bound to have a lasting and ever-changing impact on film. Here are my Top 5 flicks incorporating the Wu.
GZA the Genius and RZA a.k.a Bobby Digital, two of shaolins finest, accompany Bill “Ground-hog day, Ghostbustin-ass” Murray in this 8 minute clip from Jim Jarmusch’s 2003 flick. The three individuals’ demeanor, supplemented with witty dialogue from Jarmusche, make this a comical masterpiece as the three converses about delirium, dreams, and RZA’s obsession with alternative medicine. No hard beats or fly word play in this one. However, it’s hard to leave this one out. I mean, who can resist Bobby Digitals inquiry into surgical procedures involving a drill gun?
Afro, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, attempts to avenge his father’s death in this futuristic anime series. This 5 episode adaptation revolves mostly around the satisfaction that we samurai aficionado’s get when the protagonist succeeds in decapitating inordinate amount of adversaries and splitting bullets in two with the swipe of his sword. This effect is enhanced by the composition of beats created by RZA. Bobby Digital utilizes his expertise in the studio to blend the art of hip-hop with ancient samurai fiction to create a work rarely seen on screen.
RZA constructs some of his most poignant work in this 1999 joint starring Forest Whitaker. Mix that with Jim Jarmusch’s convincing eye, and you have a hidden gem that should not be missed. The talent Jarmusch possesses to slice through the flesh of human emotion to its’ purest form is second to none, and through Whitaker, creates an existential film of intellect and insight. The original works by RZA consists mostly of steadily constructed beats supplemented with a chill baseline, beautifully complementing the image Jarmusch intends to present. Add a fresh remix to “Ice Cream,” and what you have is a work not to be passed up.
New York City is the place, and 1994 is the year in this coming of age flick starring Ben Kingsley and Josh Peck. With hip-hop at the height of it’s fame and glory, the Wackness provides us with a soundtrack full of word play and slick beats, including “Tearz,” from Wu-Tang’s legendary album “36 Chambers,” and “Heaven and Hell,” off of Raekwon the Chef’s Mafioso album. The songs, along with the unique eye of director Jonathon Levine, elicit an array of emotions, similar to reading a Dostoevsky work with a twist of Scorseseian technique for good measure. Moreover, The role of Method Man as a Jamaican drug lord is bound to make any Wu-Tang fanatic satisfied.
Silas (Method Man) and Jamal (Redman) are off to Harvard after acing their THC’s (Testing for Higher Credentials) with some help from Silas’ new strand of weed, Ivory, grown from the ashes of his deceased home boy. The flick separates itself from most “stoner” movies by incorporating a “Friday-esque” soundtrack with a Van Wilder type comedy flow, appealing to a wide array of audiences. Songs such as “All I need,” featuring Mary J Blige, off of Meth’s 1994 album Tical, along with some collaborations with RZA, DJ Premier, and Limp Bizkit make this one a doozy to sit back and spark one to.
– Rocky Gust