Since the release of the revolutionary Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) — over the course of four seminal group albums and a multitude of ambitious side projects — the Wu-Tang Clan has constantly redefined what hip-hop can do and where hip-hop can go. Now, after a decade of dark beats and mysterious lyrics hinting at a larger whole, the RZA, the abbot of the legendary Staten Island hip-hop collective, fully reveals, for the first time, the complex, multilayered Wu-Tang Universe in The Wu-Tang Manual.
Written in a style that is at once personal and philosophical, The Wu-Tang Manual unravels the intricate web of personalities (and alter egos), warrior codes, numerological systems, and Eastern spiritual ethics that define the Wu-Tang dynasty. Packed with information that reflects the breadth and depth of the RZA’s — and rest of the Clan’s — intellectual interests and passions, The Wu-Tang Manual is divided into four books of nine chambers each, for a total of 36 chambers. All together, the book provides the breakdown of essential Wu-Tang components, from basic information about each of the nine core members of Wu-Tang Clan to deeper explorations of the key themes of the Wu-Tang universe, a dictionary-like Wu-Slang lexicon, and an entire section of Wu-Tang lyrics with densely annotated explanations of what they mean.
Elegantly laid-out and richly printed, the book is designed to reflect the Asian influence on the Wu-Tang universe, which, as the book explains, began with a fascination with kung-fu movies but quickly led to serious study of martial arts and Eastern philosophy and spirituality. The book also includes a map of Shaolin; a trove of never-before-seen photos of the Wu-Tang Clan, including shots of RZA’s trip to China with Sifu Shi Yan-Ming, live shots, and portraits-by Michael Lavine, Craig Wetherby, Sophia Chang, and Frank151; and original illustrations of many of the guiding lights of the Wu-Tang universe. For the hardcore Wu-Tang disciple and the recent initiate alike, The Wu-Tang Manual is the definitive guide to the essence of Wu, one of the most innovative hip-hop groups of all time.
The RZA’s most recent book, The Tao of Wu, is also available from Riverhead Books.