23 Jan 2016

Wu-Tang Clan's Masta Killa on their forthcoming NZ show

From RNZ Music, 2:00 pm on 23 January 2016

Wu-Tang Clan's Masta Killa talks to RNZ Music's Sam Wicks about the workings of his unpredictable rap collective.

Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan (L-to-R: Cappadonna, Masta Killa, GZA, RZA, Raekwon, U-God, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Method Man) Photo: Jonathan Weiner

With nearly a quarter-century making music together, the nine-strong hip hop collective Wu-Tang Clan has survived numerous group fall-outs, an FBI investigation, and the death of founding member Ol’ Dirty Bastard in 2004, holding it together to amass a back catalogue of 55 solo albums and six group LPs. (Seven, if you include the one-of-a-kind Martin Shkreli-purchased Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.)

Formed in the New York City borough of Staten Island in ’92, the Wu’s potent synthesis of RZA’s kung fu flick sampling production, Five-Percent Nation numerology and lyrical swordsmanship made them a dominant force in nineties rap, and their impact can still be heard in hip hop’s sound and slang.

Brooklyn native Masta Killa was the last member to join Wu-Tang. He’ll be joining his comrades onstage in West Auckland next month when the Wu play their first-ever New Zealand show at Raggamuffin, headlining a hip hop-heavy bill that includes The Game, House of Pain and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.

Wu-Tang’s reputation as an unpredictable live act precedes them, and Raggamuffin organisers have kept shtum on how many Clansmen will form like Voltron at West Auckland’s Trusts Arena on Saturday 20 February. And, as Masta Killa freely admits, even he is never sure how many of them will be in one place at one time.

“We’ve all grown into different creative wavelengths of art, some of us are into film, we’re kind of like all over the place – touring still, making albums, and just doing so much, family,” he says. “So sometimes, even for me, it’s kind of difficult to say who’s actually going to be here.

“At one time it was easy to say; there was nowhere else to go except we was all going to the studio. There were very little family; some of us didn’t even have children at that time, so we could all kind of predict what we were actually going to do because there was nothing else to do.

“We all had a vision of what we wanted to see,” he adds. “Now that we’ve accomplished that and our lives have taken on new meaning and more responsibility, it’s always hard to kind of predict that outcome.”


Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
Song: Method Man, Protect Ya Neck, Can It Be All So Simple, Da Mystery of Chessboxin'
Composer: Wu-Tang Clan
Album: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Label: Loud

Artist: GZA
Song: Duel of the Iron Mic
Composer: G.Grice, R.Jones, J.Irief, J.Hunter
Album: Liquid Swords
Label: Geffen, MCA Records

Artist: Wu-Tang Clan
Song: Bring da Ruckus
Composer: Wu-Tang Clan
Album: Wu-Tang Clan ‎– Live At Montreux 2007
Label: Eagle Vision

Related Audio

Emma Smith talks to RZA

Sam Wicks talks to GZA

Get the RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes