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Publisher's Summary

This definitive biography of rap supergroup, Wu-Tang Clan, features decades of unpublished interviews and unparalleled access to members of the group and their associates.

This is the definitive biography of rap supergroup and cultural icons, Wu-Tang Clan (WTC). Heralded as one of the most influential groups in modern music — hip hop or otherwise — WTC created a rap dynasty on the strength of seven gold and platinum albums that launched the careers of such famous rappers as RZA, GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, and more. During the ‘90s, they ushered in a hip-hop renaissance, rescuing rap from the corporate suites and bringing it back to the gritty streets where it started. In the process they changed the way business was conducted in an industry known for exploiting artists. Creatively, Wu-Tang pushed the boundaries of the artform dedicating themselves to lyrical mastery and sonic innovation, and one would be hard pressed to find a group who's had a bigger impact on the evolution of hip hop.

S.H. Fernando Jr., a veteran music journalist who spent a significant amount of time with The Clan during their heyday of the ‘90s, has written extensively about the group for such publications as Rolling Stone, Vibe, and The Source. Over the years he has built up a formidable Wu-Tang archive that  includes pages of unpublished interviews, videos of the group in action in the studio, and several notepads of accumulated memories and observations. Using such exclusive access as well as the wealth of open-source material, Fernando reconstructs the genesis and evolution of the group, delving into their unique ideology and range of influences, and detailing exactly how they changed the game and established a legacy that continues to this day. The book provides a startling portrait of overcoming adversity through self-empowerment and brotherhood, giving us unparalleled insights into what makes these nine young men from the ghetto tick. While celebrating the myriad accomplishments of The Clan, the book doesn't shy away from controversy — we're also privy to stories from their childhoods in the crack-infested hallways of Staten Island housing projects, stints in Rikers for gun possession, and million-dollar contracts that led to recklessness and drug overdoses (including Ol' Dirty Bastard's untimely death). More than simply a history of a single group, this book tells the story of a musical and cultural shift that started on the streets of Shaolin (Staten Island) and quickly spread around the world.

Biographies on such an influential outfit are surprisingly few, mostly focused on a single member of the group's story. This book weaves together interviews from all the Clan members, as well as their friends, family and collaborators to create a compelling narrative and the most three-dimensional portrait of Wu-Tang to date. It also puts The Clan within a social, cultural, and historical perspective to fully appreciate their impact and understand how they have become the cultural icons they are today.  Unique in its breadth, scope, and access, From The Streets of Shaolin is a must-have for fans of WTC and music bios in general.

©2021 S. H. Fernando, Jr. (P)2021 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

Publishers' Weekly Spring 2021 Preview - "Memoirs & Biographies"

"Wu-Tang Clan led a revolution, and S.H. Fernando Jr. was on the front lines—at the shows, in the studio, and on set for the video shoots where these nine hip-hop warriors changed the world. With vivid reporting and sharp critical analysis, From the Streets of Shao-Lin offers a chronicle of the Wu in real time, and truly allows the reader to enter the 36 Chambers." (Alan Light, former Editor-in-Chief of Vibe and Spin magazines, author of What Happened, Miss Simone?: A Biography and Let’s Go. Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain)

“Playing chess, not checkers, author S. H. Fernando Jr. has written a blunted history of the Wu-Tang Clan that reads like a textual tapestry weaving together New York history, old school hip-hop, gritty futurism, crack corners, Five-Percent Nation knowledge, kung-fu flicks, Time Square tricks, Blaxploitation aesthetics, vintage soul, Asian philosophy, Black power, and streetwise poetics. Like the Wu crew, Fernando was driven by passion, knowledge and the desire to drop science. Master-mixing journalistic discipline and research with gonzo enthusiasm, From the Streets of Shaolin: The Wu-Tang Saga is a masterful contribution to the culture and beyond.” (Michael A. Gonzales, Senior Writer, Wax Poetics)

What listeners say about From the Streets of Shaolin

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Interesting but painful

I have been a fan of Wu since the release of 36 Chambers. So to get the background of each of the members and to find out how they all came together is great. That being said, I don’t think they could of gotten a worse person to do the narration of this book. Between him butchering names and pausing in the middle of sentences, it almost make listening to it unbearable. It’s like the reader didn’t ask for clarification on names or even pre read the book before taping. Great story but awful narrator.

4 people found this helpful

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What the hell was that narration??

I hated the narrator🤬🤬 Will be getting my credit back that was embarrassing. Y’all couldn’t get JdD Jackson or Michael Boatman??

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ITS WU MF WU TANG MF!!!

should have had a better narrator for such an awesome book... Steel sharpens steel!!

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Narrative

The book was great but the narrator was horrible and amateurish who could not even pronounce a simple words and Lingle that even my grandfather could get right. Don't know why he was used he sucked worse than anyone.

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Narrator STRUGGLING!!!

Million dollar voice with a 10¢ reading ability.

Great book but I would strongly recommend just reading it for yourself. Was no one listening to this guy as he read the book?