Back in October of 2012, I attended a panel at NYU during CMJ week with Oliver “Power” Grant, of Wu-Tang Productions. The panel discussion was focused on the future of hybrid audio visual culture and how the relationship between music venues and art galleries is changing in presenting new experiences for attendees. Nerd shit. Somewhere along the way, the Wu-Tang symbol was brought up as being an unspoken international understanding of “what’s good” in underground culture.
A colorful anecdote followed, explaining the concept further, by essentially backing up the tip that wearing a Wu-Tang shirt when traveling will result in an easier time getting through airport security and customs. I never really thought about that before, but I find it really interesting to think that such a symbol can represent levels of subconscious, unquestionable respect for people and art in our day-to-day routines. Side note: feel free to participate in the Wu-Tang social experiment, go through airport security donning some merch and report back to me if it goes smoother than normal.
Point is, the influence of the Wu-Tang Clan goes cultural chapters deep and is even bustling in our own stomping grounds.
The latest example comes from the 518 collective, Against The Grain, who recently made a remake of “Protect Ya Neck” in honor of the 20th anniversary of Wu-Tang’s album, 36 Chambers.
From the ATG:
Although all members of ATG were influenced by 36 Chambers in some form or another, it was Madness who pitched the idea and got the rest of the team on board. A few weeks later, with the song complete, a video was shot and edited by Mike Arson of ATG. Many of the shots and references in the video were mimicked from the now classic “Protect Ya Neck” video and a half dozen others.
The song features (in order) Madness, Sin-City, Zae Biggz, Masai, Kaine, and Mike Arson. The intro, and many of the references in the remake are taken directly from the original version.
“Respect My Set” will be featured on the upcoming Against The Grain album, Growing Pains, coming soon.
Check it out, it’s dope!