Members of the legendary rap group Wu-Tang Clan expressed a great desire to visit and revisit (in some cases) Trinidad and Tobago, while also paying homage to West Indian culture and creativity as a whole.
Speaking with Overtime Media Director, Nigel Telesford (aka Uncle Wu of the Vox Magazine) at the CaliRoots Music Festival in Monterey, California last weekend, Wu-Tang member Corey "Raekwon" Woods admitted that the group had been heavily influenced by West Indian culture.
"West Indian culture has played a major role in Hip-Hop since Hip-Hop started man! Since Hip-Hop started! I''''m a real hip-hop dude so I''''ma tell you something that''''s real and like Rza told you earlier: where we grew up, we grew up around West Indians - they showed us how to survive, showed us how to eat even when we couldn''''t go out there and get real jobs and all that shit - they showed us how to make a business outta yuhself! They stand for something... Trinidad represent good food man and the women is bananas, you know that!"
Wu-Tang visionary and producer Raheem "RZA" Diggs saluted the festival for bridging the gap between Reggae and Hip-Hop.
"We love Cali but the thing about this right here is its the CaliRoots Festival, which is a reggae festival and we grew up Brooklyn, Staten Island, Park Hill - we call it Shaolin - but we grew up around reggae and around West Indian culture all the time," he said.
"We were introduced to Reggae at a young age, but we represent Hip-Hop and its a beautiful thing to see as music evolved and the popularity of all the artists evolved to where you can get Wu-Tang and Cypress Hill along with some of the top Reggae acts - its a beautiful thing, yuhknowwhatImean."
All the foundation members of the group were present and performed at the four-day festival except for Clifford "Method Man" Smith, who is currently engaged in filming episodes of the hit Power television series on the East Coast.
"It''''s a beautiful thing to see," added RZA, "when you get on the plane and the whole of the first class section is taken up with the Wu. We call it that long flight life."
Paying further tribute to the West Indian community, Raekwon admitted that the two-toned wallabee Clarks himself and "Ghostface Killa" made famous in their raps and fashion photoshoots were inspired by West Indians also.
"We first saw West Indians rocking those wallabee Clarks and that became me and Ghost''''s trademark, but we got it from y''''all and I want to say that and give y''''all your props man."
The iconic group performed to a massive audience of over 10,000 patrons for just under two hours and delivered their classic hit songs alongside a live band and their DJ and Producer, Ronald "Mathematics" Bean, who is also responsible for designing the world-famous Wu-Tang symbol. Asked about the vision that has led to their nearly 30-year career in the industry, the RZA responded metaphorically as he often does, saying: "Well it started from a seed... and once it gets the chance to be nurtured it will grow into the beautiful tree you see today, then it produces more fruit and from there it keeps growing into an orchard and it just keeps growing. We started from a seed and now we''''re reaping what we''''ve sown."
The group admitted they have many friends, relatives, and associates with West Indian and Trinidadian heritage and backgrounds, and Raekwon shared a chilling story about his recent visit to Trinidad in 2016.
"It was my birthday and I told my brother who''''s Trinidadian that I wanted to go to Trinidad for my birthday right. So I came through with my jewellery on and we stayed at a nice hotel and everything, but then they took us to one of the hoods - I don''''t remember the name, but the roads were dusty and there were lots of people outside drinking and chilling and s**t," he recalled with passion.
"Now I''''ve been to places all around the world and I never tuck my chain in but that part of Trinidad right there , made me feel like I was back in Brooklyn in 86 or something. We was safe, but I seen the look in some of those cats eyes like I was fresh meat or something and I''''m telling you God, I NEVER tuck my chain but that time in Trinidad there - I tucked my chain under my jersey man. People don''''t know how real it is in Trinidad, so shout outs to Trinidad and all the hoods and those real ngz out there." In This Story: Raekwon,