Wu-Tang is for the 後生仔
30 years on, the Clan rocks a new generation of fans at Clockenflap & LiFTED was there for an exclusive interview
When Hong Kong’s Clocklenflap festival announced its first lineup, spearheaded by indie darlings such as the Arctic Monkeys and Bombay Bicycle Club, ticket sales were brisk. Four years of pent-up demand had the people salivating for a live music festival. Then, when they announced the full lineup including Wu-Tang Clan as the Sunday night finale, it sold out immediately. Such is the power and allure of the Wu, even after all these years. Amazingly, a Hip Hop group that took their name, philosophy, and many lyrical cues from Hong Kong cinema had never before played as a group in the city. So the excitement was real on both sides.
LiFTED caught many of the sets during the three-day event, from Korean Hip Hop crew Balming Tiger to Julia Wu to FKJ to Sister Nancy – plus some great DJs tearing it up, like the Illustrious Blacks from NYC. Taiwan-based Julia Wu turned in a soulful, poppy set that showed why she’s risen so fast recently. She’s a very attractive mix of R&B, Soul, and C-Pop and the crowd loved it. The Illustrious Blacks are a vintage club tandem that tore the roof off the Electriq stage. Their hot nu [and old] Disco beats, combined with plenty of stage and crowd antics won them the rabid affection of the heaving crowd. You don’t have to look much further than their google description to know what you’re getting into with these guys: Neo Afro Futuristic Psychedelic Surrealistic Hippy Technegrocolor. Hello!
When we first saw that Sister Nancy was on the bill we thought we’d seen a typo, or perhaps the name had been appropriated by a cooler-than-you all-male Indie act from Indiana. But no, it was really the Jamaican Dancehall queen herself, along with DJ Legal Shot. Booyakah! We literally ran over to the Electriq stage after interviewing Balming Tiger, and caught the second half of her widely-appreciated set. Every Reggae head from Hong Kong and Mainland China seemed to be there and the tent was rocking. Since becoming the first female Dancehall DJ in the late 1970s, Nancy has been on a mission to ‘Nice up the dance,’ and she closed it out with her massive ’82 smash hit ‘Bam Bam’ – sending the crowd into ecstasies. At 60 years of age, she proved she was still the queen.
Finally, on Sunday night the whole glorious festival culminated with the perfect ending – Wu-Tang Clan live in Hong Kong for the first time ever – and with a dope live band no less. 30 years on from their debut album Enter the Wu-Tang [36 Chambers] and it seems impossible that they had never performed in the city that gave them so much inspiration. But better late than never, and as RZA said, ‘Hong Kong was always in our hearts’. And to a generation of Hong Kong kids who grew up listening to them, loving them, and realizing how powerful the creative output of their little city was to the world, the feeling was more than mutual. We were lucky enough to catch up with RZA, Masta Killa, Cappadonna, U-God, Inspectah Deck, and DJ Mathematics right after their show to talk about the love-in we’d just witnessed - like a homecoming of sorts.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Check out LiFTED’s exclusive Clockenflap interview with the Wu-Tang Clan below.