Wu-Tang Clan’s U-God says the group is a ‘hip-hop family,’ which is why it’s lasted so long


It comes as no surprise that Lamont “U-God” Hawkins, the Staten Island-raised emcee and member of the Wu-Tang Clan, would name his autobiography “Raw.” It’s the word that has likely been most often used to describe the group’s music, and the flow of the rapper himself. And it’s the first word of his verse on “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’,” the Wu-Tang hit that introduced U-God to the world.

Almost a full 25 years after the release of “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers),” U-God has put together a career both in the Clan and outside of it, with four solo albums over the years (a fifth, “Venom,” is due out on March 30).

The emcee talked to amNewYork  about “Raw: My Journey Into the Wu-Tang,” longevity and relationships within what might be hip-hop’s greatest crew of all time. Check out the interview below. 

Why now for a book?

It started in 2010 when I started really piecing it together, writing it in a little purple composition book. And then one day we were watching the Super Bowl, had some friends there, got to talking and telling stories again. And I had these people so dumbfounded, and my manager was like, “you’ve got to write a book.” So I started putting it together and I really got serious with it two and a half years ago. The first draft was 400 pages, and we chopped it down to 297. So there’s still some left over, I’ve still got more stories to tell.

In part, the book details your complicated relationship with RZA. You’ve got money problems, with him, but he also sat you down early on and convinced you to commit fully to hip-hop.

Let me tell you something: That mother—— gets on my nerves. But at the end of the day, I love the s— out of that mother——. I owe that man my life at the end of the day. And he’s worthy of me saying that. No matter what I go through with this mother——, I still have respect for him sitting me down and having that talk that changed my life so many years ago. He helped my family, he helped me get an understanding, he’s always been a big brother to me. Now, just because he’s my big brother doesn’t mean he’s gonna bully me, either. It’s a journey. I want it to end with some sunshine.

Plenty of bands have broken up over money and credit issues before. What’s kept the members of Wu-Tang connected?

You’ve got to understand something. This is business, but this is still my crazy hip-hop family. I don’t know about rockers or anybody else in the world, I know what we’re feeling like. Y’all are going to see us go through our things, and hopefully we can set an example for other bands in the world, on how to stay together, how to overcome things. How to not let a good thing be hindered by money.


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