When I found out there was going to be a Wu Tang TV series, I was super excited. I immediately wanted to try my hand at pitching what I think would make a great series. For some background, I’m a massive Wu Tang fan — I have every album, including the solo projects of each member, I’ve read The Wu Manual, The Tao of Wu, I’ve listened to every interview and freestyle I could find, especially from the RZA, and I even still have my original 36 Chamber cassette.
What makes this series so interesting, not necessarily my version, but just speaking in general, is that there is so much history about Wu Tang that a two-hour movie really won’t do it justice. As you will see with my pitch, I really take my time diving into the backstory to create a compelling narrative. Some of the stuff is true, and some isn’t, which I will disclose.
Obviously, if the actual members were involved with this series, it would be way better than anything I come up with since they have first-hand knowledge and can inject some really amazing behind-the scenes stories. For my pitch, I won’t focus so much on the specific details, although I will introduce some of that stuff. I’m more painting with broad strokes here and really want to focus on what I think would be a cool arc, structure, and pacing. I would be interested to see how close I get to the actual TV series, which at the time of this writing, is not out yet, not even a trailer.
So without further ado, here is my Wu Tang pitch.
First episode, opening scene, we see New York City, early 90s. I would have some dope rap playing in the background while I do establishing shots of New York during that time period. We see graffiti, breakdancing, the smoke coming through the manholes, brothers in the hood with the baggy clothes and gold chains. The old Benzos with rims.
The music would grow louder as we focus on a studio session. We see a young RZA, aka Rakeem, in the studio tweaking the dials of the audio equipment while his cousin GZA laying down some bars in the booth. Rakeem and GZA were signed artists at that time — RZA released an album under the name Prince Rakeem and GZA released Words from the Genius.
Although they were signed artists, Rakeem and GZA were struggling musicians. They were barely scraping by and had some illegal side hustles to make ends meet.
So they’re in the studio, there’s girls, they’re partying a little bit, and GZA comes out of the booth. He’s feeling off. He sits down and has a conversation with Rakeem.
Rakeem is like, “Yo, bong bong, what it does what it do?” He’s speaking that RZA slang that we know and love.
GZA is upset because he thinks the direction the label wants him to go is wack. He’s like, “Yo, I want to drop that fire.”
Rakeem is like, “Word is bond, kid.”
GZA begins talking about supreme science and divine mathematics, really dropping that knowledge on him. Rakeem is loving every minute of it, relating it to numerology and some other esoteric concepts.
The next scene, they’re in a movie theatre watching a Kung-Fu flick. They’re both super into it. After the movie, Rakeem and GZA go to a record shop and they seem to know everyone. They are signed artists and well respected. People are giving them daps, but they aren’t exactly famous. So they’re digging through the crates and they find some Kung Fu records.
“Yo, this is that joint we just saw, yo.”
Rakeem is really excited and grabs a stack of vinyl.
They take the train back to Rakeem’s crib and he begins sampling a lot of those Kung-Fu sounds that we know from his albums — “Shaolin shadow boxing, and the Wu Tang sword style. I’d like to try you’re Wu Tang style, let’s begin then.”
As the day goes on, people start showing up at Rakeem’s crib. Many of them we don’t know. One is ODB. He’s drunk and acting crazy. He gets on a table with his shirt off and starts singing and rapping, swaying back and forth and slurring his speech.
Someone says, “Yo, your man is bugging.”
Rakeem is like, “You know what, it’s actually kind of hot.”
The party continues and Rakeem is in his room making beats. There’s a lot of drinking 40s and smoking blunts.
Then someone comes into Rakeem’s room, a gangster who is in trouble. Here, I want to establish that Rakeem is someone people go to. He is a bridge that connects people. He drops some wisdom like, “A samurai should make every decision inside of seven breaths.”
Later that night, Rakeem and GZA perform on stage at a local club and the crowd is wil’ing out. It’s not the radio stuff, it’s more rugged and hard.
At the end of the episode, they’re chilling in the club and they are introduced to Ghostface. They are told that he is a dope emcee. He goes up next and raps, and as the episode comes to a close, the camera is focused on Rakeem standing in the crowd observing Ghostface’s lyrics and swagger. It appears as though wheels are turning in his head. He’s formulating an idea.
The next episode, I would focus on a new cast of characters. I would focus on Ghostface and Raekwon. They’re not signed artists, they are street hustlers, robbing people and selling drugs.
I would have Rakeem going on these long walks, just contemplating life. In his book Tao of Wu, he talks about going on these long walks. I used to do that and put it in my book The Art of the Hustle. I later read that RZA did that too, which I thought was cool. I would focus on RZA making music with ODB, helping ODB see the vision of a better tomorrow. I would show RZA’s baby momma struggles.
In the end of the episode, I would introduce another character like I did with Ghost. Then in the next episode, we follow another set of guys and learn about their storyline.
In the next episode, I would show another set of guys — let’s say Method Man and Inspectah Deck. We learn about some of their hopes and dreams. See what they are up to.
We seem them come together at Rakeem’s house, because Rakeem always had people over at his house. It wasn’t always a party, sometimes they would get high and watch Kung Fu movies and play video games. Each of the guys would call out, “Yo, that’s me!” “I’m that guy.” — they would essentially be living through these people.
By episode four, Rakeem gets into a bit of trouble, his girl gets pregnant, some people try to shoot him, and he catches a case. In the Tao of Wu he tells a story about giving a girl a ride home in his sister’s car and the girl he was with, her boyfriend pulls up next to them at a red light. The boyfriend gets out and smashes up the car, they speed away and lay low.
After a couple of hours, RZA creeps into that girls block and drops her off. But she lives on a dead-end street and those guys are waiting for him. It’s an ambush. There’s a shootout and Rakeem gets arrested for manslaughter or second degree murder, I can’t remember.
Later the case gets dropped, but Rakeem realizes that staying in these projects, trouble has a way of finding him. He needs to make a move and get out.
Again, we see him talking to GZA, maybe playing chess, and going on these long walks. Rakeem starts to piece together a plan. He invites all these emcees back to his crib to make music together. The whole crew is there, Meth, Ghost, Deck, Rae… They’re all trying to out rap each other, speaking slang, reading comics and coming up with nicknames. It’s really dope stuff.
There’s another scene from the book that I would put in where RZA was with Raekwon at 160 Park Hill Avenue and they see Method Man, they called him over and just as he’s crossing the road, gunshots ring out. This dude Poppy was shot and killed right in front of them and RZA basically saved Method Man’s life. If it wasn’t for them calling him over, “Yo, Shaquan!” (nickname for Method Man), Meth would have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and potentially got killed.
Near the end of the season, Rakeem now calls himself the RZA — Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah, Bobby Digital, the Abbott, RZA-recta. All the other members have solidified their names and rap personas. RZA sees what each of them brings to the table.
Season 1 Finale
In the season finale, RZA gathers eight unique emcees, sits them down and is like, “Yo, I have a plan. I’m driving this bus. If you commit to me for five years, I promise you we’ll be number one in this rap game. You can’t ask me where we’re going, you can’t ask me to drive, don’t question my authority, I have to run this like a dictatorship, yo.”
RZA gets them to all sign contracts to RZA’s production company and on that night, the plan is officially in motion.
I would then show them rapping and making beats, putting finishing touches on records like Protect ya Neck. They’re all really proud of it, and are like, “Yo, when this shit drops it’s going to be fire.”
I would end the season there.
In season two, I would have Protect ya Neck on the radio, them starting to gain a little buzz in the streets. They’re screen printing shirts, putting up flyers, doing little concerts around town. They’re still very much underground. RZA is busy making beasts and directing everyone, meanwhile shopping the group around to different labels and negotiating an unprecedented record contract, allowing the group to sign to one label, but the option for each member to branch off and do solo projects and still use the Wu Tang moniker.
The arch in season two would basically be the making of 36 Chambers, the release, and them blowing up.
They are now a global sensation. They’re making music videos, performing in big venues, magazine covers… They’re taking the world by storm and it’s crazy. We see real money start to come in and focus on that dynamic, how that changes them.
We could also focus on Method Man begin working on his on project Tical and RZA pulling him aside and telling him this is all part of my master plan, bong bong.
With so much history and characters, the saga could continue. Each season, shine the light on a new member, some of their internal squabbles.
Anyway, there it is, that’s my Wu Tang TV series pitch. Please let me know in the comments if you liked it or if you can think of ways to make it better. If you like these pitches, please subscribe to me on YouTube and my blog, and check out some other ones, below!
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