By the mid 1990’s Rza had burned through every kung-fu VHS in his basement and was forced to find a new thematic direction. I imagine he hopped in the Wu-mobile with his girl, popped in some Al Green and drove down to Blockbuster to rent some 70’s movies. 36 Chambers is the blueprint for the Wu-Tang sound but by Ironman Rza hits his stride as a super-producer. It’s the first Wu album I ever really loved, I mean how can you not love an artist’s debut solo album where he’s so G that doesn’t need to spit the first verse on his own album?
“Oh shit, that’s my man!”
When I was younger I really believed I would be able to know if a girl is “the one” by whether they knew the opening line to “Camay”. In my mind it’d go:
Me: “What’s the deal goldielocks?”
Her: “Ain’t nothing, I’m just hibernating.”
Then our beings would become one and the secrets of the universe would unlock or something. I never actually used this as a pickup line, but it was something I’d build the nerve to test on a girl after a few months to see what would happen. Every time the response was “what the fuck are you talking about?”
Imagine having the swagger to walk up to a woman and spit the lines in that song and she doesn’t laugh in your face? It’s unthinkable in my world, but Raekwon could say his verse to Michelle Obama and she’d grab her shit and bounce out of the white house immediately.
One of the most underappreciated sub-genres of hip-hop is the pickup song. This is AP level rhyming that only MC’s truly confident with their game can pull off. The hip-hop image was always that you have to be a pimp and wherever you go women were dropping their panties without hesitation. Making a track where you talk about having to put effort in on a girl can be really embarrassing if you’re not careful.
One of the better examples is LL Cool J’s “Around The Way Girl.” LL had to take a break from knocking people out on that album to talk about his ideal girl at the bus stop with a Fendi bag and a bad attitude. Another undeniable classic is “Big Poppa” by Notorious BIG where he masterfully spits game to a girl by asking her interests and offers a delicious after club snack of a t-bone steak paired with refreshing juice. Who didn’t want to get with Tribe’s Bonita Applebum? This isn’t desperate Positive K falling flat on his face with “Got A Man”…we’re talking about pro level pickup artists.
When I was in high school the Wu double cd came back like a comet and I would listen to it all day and night. There was no need for a cd wallet in the visor because you’d just have CD2 of Forever in there and every school day would end in a Triumph. I’d switch it out with Ironman every now and again when I was tired of hearing Rza talking about the fusion of the five elements or whatever.
I was dating this girl for about a minute and a half and she was a total bimbo but I was just glad to be with someone that was good looking. For weeks she was bugging because I was a senior and she was a junior and after the summer I’d be on my way to college and she’d still be back home doing lame high school shit. I had zero intention of starting college life with a girlfriend so I was always looking for a way out (Sidebar: Kissing this chick was like kissing a goldfish. She was the absolute worst, I can’t even…).
One night we were driving home from a movie and I was playing Ironman and she goes “ugh I hate Wu-Tang lets listen to something else”. I pulled over to the side of the road (really) and told her I’m done, our interests are not aligned, and I took her home. She sat there silent as I drove her home with trademarks around her fucking eyes. I wasn’t insisting she memorize all 9 members (plus cap cap cap cap cap cappuccino) or anything. Just to sit there and listen to music that wasn’t some unthinkable crap on the radio.
In my mind, Ghostface is a social barometer you can use to judge someone by. If you like Ghost, there’s a chance we have things in common. There are lots of things in life you can use to pass reasonable judgment on people. For example go out to eat and see how someone orders a steak. If they say well done they are dangerous and you should call the police immediately. If someone is wearing head to toe Supreme you can hypothesize that they are more than likely a virgin.
I find it hard to find a 1 or 2 tolerable people to grab a pizza with and somehow (most likely brokered by the illuminati) Wu Tang has 9 of the best rappers of all time. In the same group. That all lived near each other. How? Regardless of how good the other guys are Ghost straddles the line between underground and mainstream while making amazing music in a way none of them were ever able to do. Method Man was probably the only other member that could have broken out of the shadow of the group and he somehow blew it.
Despite my bullshit about wanting to find a girl that was down with the Wu, it didn’t happen for me. I mean, if I wanted to be with someone that really was really into hip-hop I’d probably have to date someone with a beard and a backpack named Mark. You don’t choose who you love and lord knows you don’t want to marry someone that is exactly like you. As you get older you realize you are a piece of shit and you need someone that is the opposite of your personality to offset how awful you are. In the end I didn’t marry a girl that likes the Wu but to be fair, she’s Chinese so she IS kind of down with the Shaolin by association. – Mike Bodge @mikebodge
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