It’s not often we have the opportunity to feature musicians in our articles, but since we’ve recently acquired a killer collection of Wu-Tang Clan merch and memorabilia, now seems like a good time to start! We’ll talk more about the collection later, but for those wondering who or what a Wu-Tang Clan is, we’re starting with a little backstory.
It was 1992 in New York when a group of young men came together to form what became the Wu-Tang Clan; a nine (later ten) member hip-hop group that put the East Coast on the map at a time when the rap scene was dominated by West Coast artists. One element of the Wu-Tang brand and sound we appreciate here at Bruneau and Co. is the group’s love of and appreciation for Japanese pop culture. Their name, Wu-Tang, (though they’ve also made quite a few backronyms) is pulled from the 1983 martial arts movie Shaolin and Wu Tang, and their music features kung fu sound integration. Their 1993 album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) carries a Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang theme and is considered by many to be the greatest hip hop album of all time. Packed with raw, gritty, and harmonious beats, it soared to the top of the charts and sold millions worldwide. If you’ve never heard Wu-Tang’s music, you really should!
Aside from being a talented group of musicians, the Wu-Tang members were brilliant marketers. From the beginning they understood the value of their talent and would only sign with a label that would allow them to pursue solo careers with the Wu-Tang name. For over a decade their brand and sounds were everywhere and their logo, the stylized “W,” is recognizable across the globe. Fun fact: Wu-Tang actually holds the record for the most expensive individual album ever sold! In 2015 the one-and-only copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, their seventh album, sold at auction for 2 million dollars. They wanted it to be considered a rare piece of art, which explains the extremely limited production run. Encased in silver, it last sold in 2021 for 4 million dollars, and it’s probably the ultimate Wu-Tang collector’s item!
In addition to musical ventures, Wu-Tang dabbled in video gaming, and even boast their very own PlayStation fighting game “Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style” and custom game controller. Perhaps most notably and most memorably, Wu-Tang developed their own clothing line (before it was cool or normal for everyone to do) called Wu Wear, which was popular enough to justify opening several anchor stores and was offered in select chains as well. It didn’t stop there either, Wu-Tang also dabbled in collaborations with popular brands like Nike, further cementing their place in popular culture.
Now that you know a bit more about the Wu-Tang Clan, keep following Bruneau & Co. as we start rolling out the killer collection coming up for auction this summer!
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