April 2014 Tiger v Crane
Award winning hip-hop group “Wu-Tang Clan” is known for their chilling, poetic, and oftentimes shocking music. They entered the music industry in a time where Hip Hop was still not listened to by those outside of inner city slums. Since nearly all rappers at the time choose to rap about daily struggles that vary from drug addiction, to the adverse effects of firearms within the hands of minors, this music didn’t permeate the Middle-Class demographic, and remained obscure. The Wu Tang Clan managed to enter the Billboard charts, and the mainstream, by a plethora of successful songs. No song is as prominent or controversial as their breakthrough hit “Mystery of Chess Boxing”. This single captivated me through its shocking, unorthodox attempt at trying to portray life as a criminal. But beneath the rough exterior, the underlying message is a primarily positive one. Despite this song being purely satirical, it was misunderstood by many as a song promoting the degradation of youth, and society as a whole. Others found the song offensive for its facetious portrayal of young woman. And many more found the vocabulary muttered throughout the song as simply shocking. Indeed “Mystery of Chess Boxing”, when listened to without proper context, can be misinterpreted as a song meant to glorify violence, and improper treatment of women.
“Homicide's illegal and death is the penalty” is a line spoken by Master Killa, member of the Wu Tang Clan. This one line, spoken on the single “Mystery of Chess Boxing” managed to garner much controversy during New York, the state Wu Tang Clan is located. This line is quite straight forward when dissected. Homicide is illegal throughout the United States, and oftentimes the punishment for committing homicide is fittingly; death. This is still a controversial subject today, and was equally prominent in 1993, the year the single was released. Master Killa grew up in Harlem, a slum in New York. Many of his childhood friends went on to be criminals, two in particular were sentenced for death relating to a 1991 shooting. It was later discovered that the two were not responsible for the homicide, but were both killed by the Justice System before this revelation. In response to what Master Killa believed to be an inherently flawed system, he added those lines to explain to his fans his dissatisfaction for the oxymoron engrained in the Justice System. “The most heinous crime is pre-meditated killing” he later disclosed in an interview, and followed it with a question “Why do we punish those we believe to be pre-meditated killers with a pre-meditated killing”? A fair assertion, considering that in an attempt to bring reasoning in an otherwise reasonless crime, law enforcement instead commits similar atrocities against said perpetrator. Many saw this line as seed to grow civil unrest, to cause otherwise passive law abiders to rebel against their state law enforcement. Master Killa, when writing this line, did not envision some dystopian government that oppressed its malefactors with harsh punishment, but instead wanted to expose a flaw in the Justice System that may need some revision. Unfortunately, Master Killa decided to remain mute when bombarded with accusation, and instead left interpretation up to the listener.
“This technique attacks the immune system, disguised like a lie paralyzing the victim” was another line, this time spoken by another member of the clan, Ghost Face. Much like many lines spoken throughout the song, this line also had an anterior meaning masked beneath the surface. When Ghost Face muttered the words, when dissected by local new media, it spawned a week long frenzy which questioned the reasoning behind the lines. “Technique that attacks the immune system” means that government has methods to divert attention from important topics, and instead confuse and sedate the masses into a state of mental sterility. Ghost Face did