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The Hulu series 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' is a biographical drama following the rise of one of hip-hop's most acclaimed groups. Starring RZA as its de facto leader, it takes place in 1990s New York and follows Bobby Diggs/RZA (Ashton Sanders), his cousins and friends as they strive to escape gang life for good music.
The Wu-Tang Clan are a major musical act and their legacy is one of success in the industry. But getting there wasn't always easy - as Season 3 of Emmy Award-nominated series 'Wu-Tang' begins, members face new obstacles while striving to pursue their goals while staying loyal to their brotherhood.
This series, inspired by RZA's bestselling book The Tao of Wu and the Wu-Tang Manual, chronicles the founding of a clan in New York City during the crack cocaine epidemic of the early 1990s. Led by Bobby Diggs / RZA (Ashton Sanders), they strive to make their mark while also pursuing their musical aspirations.
Season 3 not only recounts the true story of Wu-Tang Clan, but it also delves into the development of rap music - specifically how its members found their voices and began to define themselves musically.
On the premiere episode of Season 3, RZA and Ashton Sanders decided to do something unique by making episodes that look like Blaxploitation films - a genre influential in creating hip-hop culture. This clever move allows the show to showcase how different characters can find their voices while still maintaining continuity throughout the season.
"I wanted to take a step back from traditional storytelling and create some room for all these different incarnations that have existed over time and in different worlds," RZA said. He and Sanders created these episodes as allegories that apply to other episodes in the season, keeping the focus on its main characters while also telling their stories that have been waiting to be told."
Fans of the series Wu-Tang Clan know there's more to them than meets the eye. Their history of violence and substance abuse makes their success seem unlikely, so producers had to go through an extensive fact checking process in order to guarantee they were depicting reality accurately.
In the 1970s, Wu-Tang Clan achieved fame. At a time when streets were filled with drugs and crimes, RZA believed his music to be his way out - but to do this he needed other musicians who shared his vision.
At their start, Wu-Tang created an unmistakably grungy soundscape. They used an old Ensoniq keyboard sampler and captured sounds from around town - including saxophone squeals, velocity sensitive piano chords and unexpected throwback samples from artists such as Jackson 5 or Gladys Knight & the Pips.
RZA produced the early Wu-Tang tracks with this equipment and other instruments like drum kits and guitar. He also sampled soul records and horns to craft an original sound that captured the gritty Staten Island streets where he grew up.
Decades later, Wu-Tang Clan finally released their debut album and declared it to be their "first record to make money." This record became an international hit and launched their career.
At 19, RZA found himself living in a world of drugs and crime, yet he knew hip-hop could be his way out. With determination, he dedicated himself to making it happen - determined not to fail.
He surrounded himself with talented friends and musicians, including his cousin Bobby D (Dave East), a rapper who produced albums for others. They went to the movies, sparred each other, took turns riding home on the train, and engaged in heated rap battles on their commute home.
They eventually formed the Wu-Tang Clan and began recording their debut album. Influenced by artists such as Kool Herc, DJ Premier, and others, but with their own distinctive sound all their own.
The group quickly evolved, evolving their sound from rap to hip-hop and jazz. Additionally, they channeled their Kung Fu influences of early years into their lyrics, often including martial arts metaphors.
Wu-Tang: An American Saga has become an incredibly popular show in its first two seasons and Hulu has recently renewed it for another. The third season will premiere on February 15 and is expected to include several new episodes.
Ashton Sanders, Shameik Moore, Siddiq Saunderson and TJ Atoms lead an all-star cast in this music series that has earned critical and fan praise alike. Not only does it showcase the diverse characters within Wu-Tang Clan, but its music also gets plenty of recognition.
In this episode, Divine makes a major appearance and plays an integral role in the plotline. Spending a significant amount of time with him as he attempts to recover from his time in jail, the episode does an excellent job at developing Divine's character while moving the plot along.
This episode contains plenty of rapping and beats, while also adding in a sleek visual aesthetic. This clever idea successfully propels the story forward while giving each character their own individual narratives.
It's essential to note that the show accurately recreates real-life events from Wu-Tang's history. Furthermore, RZA plays an integral role in the show as executive producer alongside other iconic members of Wu-Tang. His support of the series has even seen him collaborate with co-showrunner Alex Tse on writing some episodes.
Ashton Sanders continues his impressive performance streak in this episode, providing another outstanding performance. The actor has previously featured in critically-acclaimed films such as Moonlight, Judas and the Black Messiah and All Day and a Night to name just a few.
After serving his sentence in prison, Divine returns to the streets and begins making money. He then proceeds to his record store where he sells Killa's tape - an impressively produced record that ignites fans around the world. It serves as both a great way for Bobby to promote both his name and reputation as well as generate some extra funds.
In the concluding chapter of their Hulu series, Wu-Tang Clan finds itself at a crossroads where fame and family dynamics collide. As they strive towards the release of their debut album, the group must navigate both personal struggles and professional triumphs while seeking meaning through music.
Season 3 of 'Wu-Tang' delves into how members of the group cope with pressure while also finding success as solo artists and producers. Aside from focusing on how they create their debut albums, the season also delves into their family dynamics and relationships with other musicians.
The third season of the show marks a pivot, with RZA and Ashton Sanders taking an innovative approach to storytelling. In addition to the traditional narrative, they created several allegorical mini-movies that reinterpret the stories of their cast and characters.
Season 3 follows Wu-Tang from their early years to stardom, chronicling the group's meteoric rise to success. This season chronicles every step of their journey towards stardom, from dealing with drugs to juggling their careers as rappers with family responsibilities.
This marks the first time the show's narrative focus has shifted in this way. Previous seasons had been focused on Bobby "RZA" Diggs (Ashton Sanders), leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, and their quest to become hip hop music's greatest group ever.
RZA recounts to Variety his constant quest to elevate the show while staying true to the Wu-Tang story. Together with the cast, they needed a way of conveying that their journey wasn't limited by just music industry success; and they decided the best way to do that was by creating new worlds where the gang could thrive.
Due to this, the team decided to make an episode that looked like a Blaxploitation film and another that was inspired by gangster movies. Furthermore, RZA and Sanders wrote a story inspired by martial arts movies.
Though the show had always leaned toward going too far, this final season has finally found the right balance. It serves as an appropriate conclusion to the tale of Wu-Tang Clan.