Wu-Tang: An American Saga is set in New York City during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic in the early 1990s. It follows the Wu-Tang Clan’s formation, a vision of Bobby Diggs aka The RZA (Sanders), and rise amid the dangers and excesses that came with the epidemic. Seeking his own way out, Diggs turns to rap in order to carve a path to fame going against his older brother Divine (Martinez), who favored the drug trade as the means to giving their family a better life. The story depicts how it all came together for the clan as Diggs unites a dozen young black men who are torn between music and crime. The group battles against the forces that hold them down and these include their own occasional impulse to give up the fight.
The interesting part about this series is that though I imagine Straight Outta Compton helped pave the way for it, beyond being about the formation of a rap group, they share almost no resemblance. Wu Tang: An American Sage is not about their struggles while making music and being artists, it’s about their struggles to get their in the first place. Now, I am a huge Wu Tang fan. I beleive their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 chambers) is the best album ever released. I was looking forward to hearing them in this like we did NWA in Straight Outta Compton. That is not what we got, and I am very happy about that! I know nearly all of their songs, so I don’t need to hear them again. What I didn’t know all too well was how they got started from nothing, and the relationships and rivalries within the Wu itself. Now, I dont know how much the actual story was touched up and turned Hollywood, but even as someone who’s not already a fan it would be a good watch since it’s not entirely about the music.
Obviously this story is very driven by the characters, its who we are here to see. I cant touch on everyone since the Clan started with ten guys, but a couple real standouts are Ashton Sanders as Bobby Diggs, or RZA. Bobby is the main character and we usually see the story from his eyes as RZA is the leader of Wu Tang. Ashton does an awesome job of representing a gang member, who is violent at times, as incredibly smart, sympathetic, and sweet. For that matter, Siddiq Saunders as Dennis Coles (Ghostface Killah) did the exact same thing. I’d also like to give a shout out to T.J. Atoms for representing Ol Dirty Bastard. Someone he was not able to talk to, and had a personality that is hard to understand.
To wrap up, I think Wu Tang: An American Saga is a terrific story whether you are a fan or not. Its inspiring and dramatic, yet dark with a human element. It shows the caring and often scared aspects of these gang members in a way most shows or movies dont. Most just show them as bad ass if they want you to like them. If you do like the Wu, than it’ll give you glimpses of some of your favorite artists like you’ve never seen them… Hulu really is killing it lately with their mini series’.