You’ll find many a music documentary profiling the very congruent rise of hip-hop in the US alongside the injustices that were taking place in the country during the late 80s and early 90s.

However, the truth is that long before grime catapulted the UK rap scene into mainstream consciousness, it was also down to stateside groups to help mould the aspirations of young British MCs.

One of the groups clearly most instrumental in this – as detailed in the new documentary School of Shaolin, directed by Nick Donnelly – is Wu-Tang Clan. They came roaring out of the blocks in 1993 with Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) – a record that screamed anarchic rebellion and impending change more than any 70s guitar wielders.

What is fascinating to observe in School of Shaolin is the organic affinity that a band who (often by their own admission) are all over the place on tour have built up on the other side of the Atlantic.

No shows and last minute drop-outs are all part of the fun with Wu-Tang, with a completed-line up being so rare that their 2013 full band gigs at Brixton Academy and Manchester Apollo form the centre piece of the film.

There are intriguing interviews with Wu-Tang’s east-ender, West Ham-mad tour manager Simon Green, hip-hop photographer to the stars Eddie Otchere, underground UK rap stalwart Leaf Dog and of course the surviving members of the band themselves.

With the film so heavily anchored on the short 2013 stint, it is an account very clearly targeted at the British Wu-Tang fan, but anyone looking for a fresh perspective on one of hip-hop’s most influential exports will not be disappointed.

Those chomping at the bit to watch the film will have to wait until next year for its official release, but you can take it from your old friends Far Out that it will all be worth it.

Comments