Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wu Tang Clan "Triumph"

"Triumph" and its amazing accompanying video was my introduction to the Wu Tang Clan in the beginning of high school. At the time I mostly listened to rock, metal, depressing pop or goth music, but the sheer number of times MTV played this video convinced me that Wu Tang was something I should maybe pay attention to. I came to learn how influential they are (particularly the RZA) and that I had a lot more in common with them than I thought: a passionate love of cult movies.

Though I watched and loved the kung fu movies - particularly Shaw Brothers - I saw on TV, I learned about Shaolin and Wu Tang through Wu Tang Clan and, as a result, the whole underground culture of more obscure kung fu movies. It has been a lifelong love affair.

"Triumph," from their second album Wu Tang Forever, goes beyond their love of Asian action cinema and into more familiar territory for my blog: animals attack films. The plot of the "Triumph" video, fittingly directed by Brett Ratner, is that a swarm of killer bees, in the form of Wu Tang and actual bees, descend upon New York, evade the police, escape from prison, cause general mayhem, etc. In addition to the overt animals attack visuals, there's also a clip from D.W. Griffith's massively offensive and pro-slavery Birth of a Nation.

References to movies abound in their work. Killa Beez is one of the many Wu Tang offshoots. Killer Bees (1974) is a made-for-TV horror film starring Gloria Swanson, whose character has a psychic link with a swarm of killer bees. Coincidence? (Killer bees also refers to a hybrid of Western and African bees.) The side group Killa Beez released a compilation album called  The Swarm, presumably named after my favorite bee-centered horror film.


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