Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Watch the Wu-Tang Clan rip it up old school on The Tonight Show, of all places

The Wu-Tang Clan
Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

Sure, the members of the Wu-Tang Clan are middle-aged, pursuing multiple career paths, occasionally squabbling amongst themselves, and currently pumping up interest in their upcoming, four-part Showtime career retrospective docuseries, Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics And Men. And yes, the legendary rappers were kicking it on the stage of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, America’s late-night home for wacky party games (watch Brie Larson hula hoop!), and puffball celebrity interviews, The Tonight Show, hosted by eager-to-please fame-puppy Jimmy Fallon. (“That’s how you do it!,” Fallon yelped approvingly after the group finished performing.)

Still, it was the Wu-Tang Clan, they were doing the (TV-censored) entirety of “Triumph,” and nearly everyone was there to spit their verses in the six-minute classic from 1997's Wu-Tang Forever. Adding to the continuity/awesomeness, Old Dirty Bastard’s son, rapper Young Dirty Bastard joined the band onstage to do his late father’s part of the song. (It was a little jarring to have YDB shout out a network-mandated “mothersuckers,” but the Wu-Tang has bigger stakes in the game at this point.) And while The Tonight Show’s crowds may have become a bit more acclimated to hip-hop since Fallon invited Philly rap stars The Roots in as his house band, it was still bracing to see the audience levels rising as each of the nine members took the mic. As expected, RZA’s rousing verse, projected hard into the crowd, brought even the Tonight Show faithful to their feet. Previous guest Wyatt Cenac—there to plug his excellent HBO series Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas—joined Fallon in congratulating the band afterward, having hung around on the couch to catch the Wu-Tang Clan live. Because, yeah, you do that.

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About the author

Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.