Is Wu-Tang without the RZA still Wu-Tang?
To be more precise, as Mikael Wood pointed out in this week's pick, they're bringing "seven of the eight original Wu-Tang members currently available for live engagements: GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa."
To be sure, the show should be fantastic and the sheer aggregation of talent is hella impressive.
But--just to play devils' advocate for a sec--can a group that's missing the LA-based RZA call itself "the Wu-Tang"?
What do you think?
Groups have been touring without problematic (aka, "genius") members forever--Beach Boys '66, anyone?--but there's something about the centrality of the RZA to the Wu-Tang that makes this gig in the Borg-like Live LA compound downtown a little... well, a little something we can't quite put our fingers on.
And you don't have to be an 8 Diagrams nerd to know that the battle for the soul, future and legacy of the Wu is still raging between these rogue hip-hop monks and their often-baffling, never ever uninteresting Abbot.
Again, the question we're throwing out is--is Wu-Tang without the RZA still Wu-Tang?