Previously unseen images of Wu-Tang Clan taken over a 10-year period by Eddie Otchere are being released in a new photozine.
The 36 page Wu-Tang Clan: 1994-2004 photozine, which arrives this month, documents the hip-hop collective in London and LA. It provided snapshots ranging from PlayStation sessions to smoking blunts and spinning soul music.
Celebrated hip-hop photographer Otchere has spoken about some of the moments he captured on camera. “I’d say off the bat it’s [bandmember] Ol' Dirty Bastard, asking me to destroy the negatives, that will never leave me. [Method Man] showing me his new trick with eye and cap. U-God with a plaster on his face. The RZA in a bath tub at the Met hotel,” Otchere said in press material.
“Watching the entire Wu-Tang Clan getting passport pictures at Earl Court station. The shows. The distinct smell of blunts and weed that hung in the air. Papa Wu inviting me on the coach and traveling from Putney to Kentish Town with a pit stop in Earls Court,” he added.
Otchere continued: “The first time I met the Wu-Tang was in 1994, they were meant to be in a soundcheck, and were instead throwing rocks at passing trains. It was a hallmark of every encounter, a wild ride. The concert was scheduled for the Kentish Town Forum and word had gone around they were in London.
“In my hunt for them I went to the record company and my first encounter with the Wu-Tang began as they were coming out of the building on their way to Kentish Town to do their soundcheck. I heard them before I saw them, so my camera was ready. I managed to get on the coach and rolled with them while they listened to deep soul music. Their passion for the life of hip hop is undeniable and our hook ups were built on the premise that I was documenting hip hop through my photography.”
The photographer remembered another occasion working with members of the group. “The fourth [occasion] was [with bandmember] Cappadona in Brixton but the last time was in Los Angeles and there I met Ol Dirty’s son. He came through to host my show in LA. On the opening night we held a block party in the car park of Melrose where the RZA rolled through and spent the whole night holding court.
“We exchanged words as I toured the gallery giving him the details of all the times we’d met. We had a PlayStation with the Wu-Tang game [Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style] on it. Young Dirty smashed it. I took one shot that night, just one. It’s been 25 years in the making.”
Otchere concluded: “What you have here a rarified glimpse at the lead images and contact sheets of seeking out members of the Wu-Tang Clan and putting their mythos on blast. I got one shot. This was the last time we held a cipher.”
You can pre-order Wu-Tang Clan: 1994-2004 here.
Elsewhere, Wu-Tang Clan and Nas kicked off their NY State of Mind tour in New Zealand, Australia, North America, the UK and Europe this month (see full list of dates).