Showtime is about to get C.R.E.A.M-ed. The premium cable net has picked up North American rights to Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, a documentary series that examines the cultural history of the hip-hop mega-group.
The docuseries is directed by Sacha Jenkins, whose relationship with the group dates back to the early ’90s when, as a co-founding publisher of one of hip-hop’s first zines, Beat Down, he gave the group its first cover. The project is described as transcending the music documentary genre by creating a new lane that merges music, socio-cultural commentary and intimate family portrait. Its first two episodes will premieres at the Sundance Film Festival this month, and Showtime will air the entire four-parter in the spring.
As the group marks the 25th anniversary of their breakout debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the series looks back on their career, combining intimate and reflective interviews from each of the nine living members with never-before-seen archival footage and performances. It follows the founding members – RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, U-God, Ghostface, Method Man, Masta Killa and Cappadonna – many of whom were childhood friends in the hardscrabble world of ’70s and ’80s Staten Island and Brooklyn. Their ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit brought them together to overcome the poverty, violence and oppression of their neighborhoods. But it was music and their shared lyrical genius that allowed them to form the most recognized musical movement in the world, all while walking the treacherous tightrope that links business with brotherhood.
“Wu-Tang Clan is a seminal group that deserves a seminal documentary,” said Vinnie Malhotra, EVP Nonfiction Programming at Showtime Networks. “Sacha Jenkins delivers just that, not only reminding us of their powerful history through vintage footage, but also placing their impact in modern-day perspective that will be meaningful both to their diehard fans and music fans in general.”
Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men is a Mass Appeal production in association with Endeavor Content, which brokered the deal and is handling international rights. Peter J. Scalettar, Peter Bittenbender and Chris Gary are the executive producers.