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The Month Ahead: When Nobody Knew Wu

Recalling a first encounter with the now legendary hip-hip group


In 1992, five members of an unknown hip-hop band schlepped to the Manhattan studio of radio DJs Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia, who had a track record of unearthing big talent (Notorious B.I.G., for example).

Wu-Tang Clan, who this fall will release A Better Tomorrow, their first album in six years, are among the biggest names ever broken by the radio hosts. And Garcia never had any doubt that the demo-toting youngsters who approached him were destined for greatness.

“They were like, ‘Yo! Play this. Play this!’—very forcefully. They just showed up and tried to strong-arm me,” he says. “I took a quick preview, and played it instantly. It was a no-brainer.

“Months later, I distinctly remember being on the number 18 bus going across town, and there was a kid with a Walkman playing our show, on a cassette, and rhyming the words verbatim. This was before Wu-Tang even had a video. That’s when I knew they had a hit on their hands.”

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