By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
As the Wu Tang New York State of Mind Tour winds down this week with a West Coast Swing, we couldn’t help but looking back at the one at Jiffy Lube Live after seeing them in Raleigh as well and really truly say this could have been one of the best shows of the summer.
Many of our readers know, that we have followed the Wu Tang since late 1997 and this show not only brought back memories of the past D.C area performances, but certainly showed how this band still brings the heat 25 years later.
The NY State of Mind tour was perfectly put together, opening with a mesmerizing montage splashed across the five giant screens on stage that took us back to 90s east coast hip hop with nods to BDP, Big L, Biggie, The Fugees and Big Pun. Those huge screens are flanked by a DJ and a live drummer, which really brought the show to life. In fact, it really enhanced the performances. N
Raekwon kicked things off with “Incarcerated Scarfaces.” Naturally clips of Al Pacino playing Scarface would grace the screen behind him. The fun Wu iconography, killer bee graphics and clips from grindhouse martial arts flicks that the group often fetishized would continue to provide the backdrop to songs like “Bring Da Ruckus” and “Duel Of The Iron Mics.”
One piece of the puzzle that has been missing from several shows on tour including this one, is Method Man. As many hard-core Wu fans know Method Man, aka Clifford Smith, has a pretty solid acting career going on right now and as he stated, there is no beef with the Clan, I just had been booked to shoot this movie before this tour was put together. Some shows, like NYC and Raleigh had Mr. Mef and the difference between the shows was the energy Method brings to the stage.
Songs like C.R.E.A.M sound much better him on the mike, but don’t worry, the Wu stil brings the rukus to all of their shows with or without Method.
For those NAS fans, his performance was way better than expected. Perhaps it was his Georgetown Allen Iverson jersey that made the flavor of the show even better, but I am sure it was his timeless hits that did it for us.
The Queensbridge MC has a catalog of over 20 albums and was able to touch on a large part of it by performing a few songs in entirety but mostly doing popular versus from radio hits and cult classics. Full performances of songs like “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” and “Hate Me Now” fit seamlessly with Nas’ verse from Missy’s 1999 hit “Hot Boyz”or DJ Khaled’s “Nas Album Done”.
Busta Rhymes has long been respected for his show on stage. His tribute to his father and performing some of the best tracks to hit the hip-hop airwaves ever on the night of his 25th anniversary of the album had so many people standing for his whole performance. Busta had people running to grab the CD back in 1997 and he still has em downloading in 2022.
Busta’s rambunctious “Scenario” verse was so impactful that he gave the crowd a genuine mic drop, before Spliff Star, ever the ringmaster, announced, “that was then, let me show you now.” The crowd was wound up in anticipation of his tongue-twisting “Look at Me Now” verse, which he performed with precision, before breaking into one-and-a-half performances of “Break Ya Neck.” He knew when to be ferocious and when to use his vocal skills to veer from quiet to loud. It wasn’t just a stamp of prolonged success, but one of a mastered craft.
As Wu finished out the show which lasted over 2.5 hours, there wasn’t a point where we felt anyone wanted to leave the show and as Rza popped the champagne to the end another successful show, it’s clear that these hip-hop legends that represent the New York music scene like no other aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and neither should you.