Put dance music aside for a second. In the wider world of music, there are few names more recognized than Wu-Tang Clan. The influential 1990’s hip-hop group—initally made up of RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and later joined by Cappadonna—is widely credited with revolutionizing hip hop, bringing the East Coast and hardcore styles of the genre to the mainstream.
Now, let’s bring dance music back into the picture. Not only did the inimitable ten-member group change the course of hip hop, they also played a big role in the development and direction of dance music, particularly techno. In a 2018 interview with the Detroit Free-Press published following Wu-Tang Clan’s closing set at the city’s iconic Movement Festival—which honors the locale’s notable designation as the birthplace of techno—RZA described the two genres (hip-hop and techno) as “cousins, in a way.” Just as writer Max Mertens noted for VICE in his coverage of the same festival, RZA’s unique production style has been reflected in subsequent generations of dance music artists and has inspired countless more.
Wu-Tang Clan has influenced many a DJ/producer, including Detroit’s own Carl Craig and Britain’s Kevin Martin. It’s certainly not a rarity to hear Wu influences in a DJ set, and the group has, on several occasions, even joined forces with dance music artists for sets— like with Dubfire at an afterparty at 2018’s Movement—and even an album, 2009’s Wu-Tang Clan Meets the Indie Culture Vol. 2: Enter the Dubstep, which featured remixes by Excision, Matt U, Trillbass, and more. Outside of dance music, the group can be recognized far and wide by their many seminal tracks, including “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me),” “Protect Ya Neck,” and “Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’Wit.”