This post is not about an ancient Chinese dynasty it’s an amazing story of the genealogy of New York’s Wu-Tang Clan, an infamous organization with roots in Staten Island, New York. It’s only one of the subcultures that arose as masses of Chinese and Southeast Asian immigrants flooded to New York in search of better lives.
The Wu-Tang Clan emerged from the slums of Shaolin which is located close to Wudan Mountain Park in Park Hill, Staten Island, and went on to form the largest neighborhood rap empire of the late 20th century.
In a detailed and difficult study, Staten Island historians Robert Wilburn and Charles Tinsley successfully traced the lines of the Wu-Tang Clan Back to 1993. Considered a breakthrough in hip-hop genealogy the historians used a series of historical records, which included Wu-Tang Forever, Iron Flag, and 8 Diagrams that helped them decipher the group’s complex history. For instance, the same individual can have multiple identities and it took scholars hundreds of hours to disentangle Wu-Tang’s complicated lineage oral traditions and style of dress.
As reported in The Onion, Tinsley said, “Through our exhaustive research, we have determined not only the start of the Wu-Tang Clan’s reign, but also the very moment of its legendary downfall,” said Wilburn, who has authored numerous books on the House of RZA. “Indeed, we now have conclusive proof as to why all the other wannabe MCs bowed down to this dynastic force.”
The Clan acquired an immense wealth and notoriety and Wliburn said, “One need only look at Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s dental records to get a sense of the incredible treasures they possessed.”
I’ve visited the Staten Island Mall where the original 36 Chambers are believed to be buried, and unless it shuts down many of the artifacts may never be recovered.
To read more details of this fascinating story of one of the most extensive subcultures in our recent history, please click on The Onion.