Get Up On This With Jensen Karp: Wu-Tang: An American Saga

Every Thursday morning Jensen Karp gets us up on something new

September 12, 2019

Every Thursday morning Jensen brings our attention to something that we may not know about yet or something we may have overlooked.

Now it's time to "Get Up On This."

This week Jensen gets us up on a HULU original, Wu-Tang: An American Saga. Now, we’ve been through this before and we agree that between the networks, premium cable, and streaming services, there is simply too much TV. Lately, Jensen has been doing an excellent job of finding the great TV shows that we should be watching and Wu-Tang: An American Saga is definitely one of them.

There has been no shortage of media chronicling the Wu-Tang Clan’s history as of late. There was the book Once Upon A Time in Shaolin, which Jensen agrees was pretty good. There was also the recent Showtime documentary Of Mics And Men, that Jensen loved and praised highly in a previous Get Up On This. Now, there’s a scripted show that left Jensen very impressed in how they approached the material.

If you don’t like rap music, don’t worry, the first season isn’t even about rap. It’s more along the lines of a crime drama, kind of like The Sopranos or The Wire. It follows the individual members as teenagers and tells the story of how they met. It’s a fictional story, based on real-life events, so the storytelling possibilities are endless. Their rap names aren’t even mentioned yet in the series. The show opens amid a drug war between the Park Hill housing projects and the Stapleton projects, with future members of the eventual Wu, split among the two gangs.

The die-hard fans will enjoy all the Easter eggs such as an arcade game that references bees or Method Man’s first rap moniker, "Panty Raider” being mentioned while at his job working at The Statue of Liberty. But even if you know nothing about their music - you’ll love learning about them (even if fictionally elaborated upon).

The series stars Ashton Sanders who plays Bobby and it follows his struggle between helping his older brother in the drug war or following his passion for music production. Shameik Moore, who was the voice of Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, is also in it but, the real star is the approach and the writing. RZA and Alex Tse are the co-writers and producers of every episode and were able to take a memoir and change it into something bigger.

Wu-Tang: An American Saga is able to tell a good story. Each character has their own timeline, much in the way that every Marvel Avenger has their own origin and backstory. In different and unique ways they are able to tell those well-documented stories in such a fun new way that reveals a lot about something we think we know about. They did an incredible job of taking something that would be so niche and opening it up to a lot of people.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Wu-Tang’s seminal debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) arguably the best rap album of all time. There’s no better way to do a deep dive into the Wu-Tang Clan than by watching Wu-Tang: An American Saga. You can currently watch the first four episodes on Hulu and a new episode is released every Wednesday (Wu-Tang Wednesday). If you love fictionalized crime warfare, this is right up your ally.