Opinion: Wu-Tang shows need to ban attendees who can’t name all the members of Wu-Tang
Calgary, AB – There can be no denying that in recent years, Wu-Tang Clan has joined the stable of notable 20th century figures whose likeness has been turned into fashion icons for basic suburbanites. This stable includes figures like the Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Che Guevara, and Obama (for like a week back in 2008).
Suburbia is a war. One in which winning is determined by who can most effectively prove to everyone else how different they are. This is evidenced by the fact that becoming a master of the suburban race (or basically white people, in general), involves name-dropping an artist that no one else knows. If someone else knows about it, however, the aspiring counter-culturalist is reduced – in a process reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno – to a level reserved for fans of The Killers and The Postal Service.
Avoiding this fate is precisely why the previously mentioned artists have been turned into tools used for waging this war.
“My dad works for an oil company, so I assert my disdain for the system with this Che Guevara shirt from Bluenotes.”
“I went to equestrian bible camp every year, but this Tupac shirt from Forever 21 shows that I’m not like everyone else because not only do I tolerate black people, I be bumping that shit in the ride.”
“I’m not like the above mentioned girl, because my Wu-Tang shirt that I also bought in the mall is more underground. I Googled the lyrics to ‘Protect Ya Neck’ once so I could sing it in my ride, squad goals lol.”
Photo source: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images North America
It becomes readily apparent that what’s being marketed here isn’t the artistic achievements of the artists (or whatever the political equivalent of that is in the case of Che Guevara). What’s being marketed is some generalized concept of what the artist stood for. Rebellion. Thug life. Being underground. Quite often this ends up negating the exact mentality that the artist originally stood for. In recent years, Wu-Tang has been one of the most visible targets of this.
Right now Urban Outfitters has a shirt for sale that combines the Wu-Tang logo with the pattern of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album. I’m guessing whoever designed this shirt thought they were making the equivalent of a Panzer tank in the aforementioned suburban war. Whoever designed this probably considered themselves a genius, as they apparently figured out a way to subvert everyone else wearing a Wu-Tang shirt while simultaneously giving a nod to everyone in the building wearing ironic work boots, a beard, and janitor keys.
If something is in the mall, next to a 50 Shades Of Grey vinyl (this is something that’s actually real), next to a portable turntable that looks like a hair straightener (also real), is it really underground? It’s the marketed sensation of being underground, and in doing this it’s creating a new mainstream overflowing with weed socks, bucket hats, crop tops of ’90s rappers, and not one person being aware that The Clan released a new album last year.
Avoiding an influx of the above creatures is precisely why hopeful ticket buyers should be asked to name all nine members at the time of purchase. To avoid seeming elitist, failed applicants could kindly be directed to a more suitable venture, such as a campfire presided over by a guy doing acoustic Oasis covers with Nelly hooks dispersed throughout.
Written by Jonathan Crane for HipHopCanada. Jonathan is the online editor for Freq Magazine. Follow Freq Magazine on Twitter at @freqmag
Notice: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the author and are not necessarily those of HipHopCanada or its affiliates.
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