Ooh baby, I like it raw: Wu-Tang kills in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Ooh baby, I like it raw: Wu-Tang kills in Aspen

Stewart Oksenhorn
Aspen, CO Colorado
Hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan, with rapper Method Man, performed Wednesday night at Belly Up Aspen. (Stewart Oksenhorn/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN ” It’s got to be more attractive splitting up the cash one way than eight. But for the members of the Wu-Tang Clan, it’s hard to imagine it’s more enjoyable playing a solo show, as virtually all of them do, than getting together as a collective.

Wednesday night’s show at Belly Up Aspen was billed as the Wu-Tang Clan, and the recent CD, “8 Diagrams,” was released under the name of the New York-based ensemble.

Still, that didn’t necessarily indicate just how the group ” whose membership includes such notable individual rappers as Ghostface Killah, Method Man, the GZA and Raekwon ” would appear onstage. “8 Diagrams” is the first CD issued under the Wu-Tang name since 2001’s “Iron Flag,” and one key member, RZA, known as the Clan’s producing genius, made it known several weeks ago that he would not be part of the current tour. The possibility that Wu-Tang was a clan only in brand hung over the show.

No such thing. For an hour and a half on the crowded Belly Up stage, the Wu-Tang felt like a family, even a warm and close one. Nine rappers ” Clansters Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck and U-God, quasi-members Cappadona and Street Life, and the aforementioned quartet ” performed as one, with no one leaving the stage. Various rappers did throw their solo material into the set, but the others fell comfortably into a supporting role. Everyone seemed on board all the time, and the show had a cohesive, organized flow.

Perhaps the main reason none of the musicians left the stage was because none of them wanted to miss the next antic of Method Man. Every family has to have a Big Daddy, and on this night, it was Method Man who occupied the spotlight. Frankly, it didn’t seem like his fellow rappers or the crowd would have had it any other way. Method Man turned cartwheels off the stage and into the audience, acted as ringmaster, showed the most charisma. And when it came time to turn solemn for a moment, in a tribute to the late Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man hushed the tone. Or at least tried to, as his Clan mates cracked wise behind him. Eventually, he gave up the idea of calming down the crowd, and asked instead that the fans join him in honoring O.D.B. in a way he would have liked ” by getting as loud as possible.

On this raucous night, that wasn’t hard to do.

Wu-Tang showed as much affection for the audience as it did to one another. Showing they aren’t all m.f.-this and biatch-that, Method Man invited all listeners to join the group at a birthday party for Ghostface at the Sky Hotel. Before those festivities, however, the Clan had a little pre-party, trading words and high-fives with any fan who wanted to climb on stage.

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