The year 2018 is full of strange sights. There’s a computer-generated news anchor in China. Elon Musk is asking people for dank memes on Twitter. Perhaps you have heard about American politics. And yet there is still little that can prepare you for this video of the Wu-Tang Clan performing “Protect Ya Neck” on Good Morning America, the room-temperature nexus of milquetoast American popular culture. The Wu are currently on something of a reunion tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), a record of profound sonic intensity that has not lost a whit of its ability to shock in the quarter-century since its release. For evidence, again, we will refer you to the above video, which begins with a bit of polite banter with Michael Strahan before the RZA’s bone-snapping drums soar into the mix. The audience has been festooned in matching Wu Wear, and they clap politely on the 2 and 4 along to lines like “What, grab my nut, get screwed / Oww, here comes my Shaolin style.”
It’s sort of fun to keep track of which emcees tone it down for the crowd—Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s son, Young Dirty Bastard, plays nice with the censors, whereas RZA refuses to self-edit—especially given that a third of the video is bleeped out. If you’re hungry for more, the Wu-Tang Clan have also released a pretty solid documentary about the album’s creation, which you can watch below.