The Wu-Tang Clan's 20 Year Plan »

Frannie Kelley at NPR:

At Loud, the group’s home base, Rifkind was happily taking a chance on a group that had been turned away from his competitors. But the RZA wasn’t one for chances. Both he and DJ Stretch Armstrong recommended Schott Free for a job at Loud. “[RZA] said, ‘Look man, you one of the only educated dudes in the Clan. We need somebody up in the office, overseeing what these guys are doing with our records!’ “

And that’s not all. Getting to No. 1 depended on each artist growing the Clan’s fanbase. The RZA explains:

“I recall telling GZA, ‘You’ll get the college crowd,’ ” because he’s the intellectual. “Raekwon and Ghost, all the gangstas” — their metaphors read like a police blotter — “Meth will get the women and children — and he didn’t want to do women and children. He didn’t know that, though. Method Man is a rough, rugged street dude, but all the girls love him.” Method Man is playful. “Myself, I was looking more like that I bring in rock ‘n’ roll,” says the RZA, whose rhyming style is the opposite of laid-back.

A fascinating account of the rise of the Wu-Tang Clan –the iconic, but often misunderstood and misrepresented pioneer hip-hop group.