Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics Delivers an Emotional Reflection
by Donnia Harrington
“Clan means family. These are my brothers.” Showtime’s four-part limited docuseries on one of the most influential hip hop groups of all time offers a personal take on the journey of the Wu-Tang Clan, from their childhoods to the inception of the group and their skyrocket to fame after years of simply trying to make a living. Reflection would be the best word to describe this docuseries, not only does filmmaker Sacha Jenkins conduct traditional one-on-one interviews with the surviving members of the group, he also brings them together again as a family.
As viewers are watching their story unfold, the Clan does the same as they sit in a theatre room and discuss among themselves their thoughts from the origins of their group name to playful banter. They hardly see each other now, but when they meet again it’s just like old times and watching their dynamic is infectious.Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics Official Trailer
One feels like they’re in the theatre room with them, gaining insight into their thoughts while watching them reflect on the past. Outside of the theatre room, members of the group take viewers on a journey to where they grew up in Staten Island, most of them from the neighborhood, Park Hill. A highlight of the series is Method Man returning to his first job—working at the Statue of Liberty. He meets with his old boss and even takes a broom to clean up after customers as he did years ago.
Moments like this humanize them; Wu-Tang Clan is known around the world as influential icons but before that, they were boys trying to endure and survive racism, drugs and crime. Jenkins is able to effectively show them as people that anyone could relate to. Many members of the group grew up in broken homes and hearing them talk about their experiences from depression to turning to crime reveals their vulnerability and why their music was and still is so powerful to the masses of people who listen to them.
Other well-known artists from Seth Rogen to Jim Jarmusch and Ta-Nehisi Coates make appearances in the docuseries, giving their personal take into why Wu-Tang Clan’s music changed their lives. “I felt seen [by their music].” Coates said.
“[Their music] comments on the strength of ideas.” This quote from Jarmusch is a defining trait of the Wu-Tang Clan and what makes them stand out among the rest. They always stayed true to themselves and that’s why they’re considered legends in their craft. Fans of Wu-Tang Clan are guaranteed to enjoy this docuseries but the true power of the series is that anyone can watch it and become compelled with their story. From the process of creativity to how the music industry functions, Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men is a history lesson about the Wu-Tang Clan but it also shows the inner workings of how they hustled for record deals and how anyone can do anything if they’re passionate enough.
Everyone in the Wu-Tang Clan was passionate about their craft. They learned how the industry worked in order to achieve creative freedom and their freedom of expression led to a revolution in the industry. “Don’t let these people change you, baby.” Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men is a celebration of individuality that extends beyond fan enjoyment and never shy away from focusing on the humanity of legends.
Donnia Harrington has been writing critically about film for over three years. Her work has been published on FlickSided, Audiences Everywhere and ComicBook Debate. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys foreign cinema, female-centered video games, Korean music and Scandinavian crime novels. Check out some of her other contributions to soulhead.