Wu-Tang Clan: Members, Their Real Names, Career, and More

wu-tang clan
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They’re a group of rap and hip-hop legends who became a cultural phenomenon. They’ve inspired video games such as Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style and even seen some members start their own clothing lines. There have been documentaries made about them and their success. Their lyrics are ripe with staples of slang and a production that’s unmatched. There’s only one group we could be talking about – the Wu-Tang Clan.

Who is the Wu-Tang Clan? Find out that and more about one of the greatest hip-hop groups of all time.

Who is the Wu-Tang Clan?

The Wu-Tang Clan is a collective of hip-hop artists who originally formed in 1992. It is this famed group, which is still going strong today, that is credited with the revitalization of hip-hop on the East Coast. They remain to be considered “one of the greatest hip-hop groups of all time.”

Wu-Tang Clan Members

Like with many groups/bands, membership has changed a few times over the years. Most of its members, however, have been going strong since the very beginning. Who are the Wu-Tang Clan members and what are the Wu-Tang Clan members’ real names? We’ve got that right here for you. 

All on vocals, the members who started in 1992 and remain active in the group include Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, aka RZA, who is also in charge of production; Gary Grice, aka GZA; Clifford Smith, aka Method Man; Corey Woods, aka Raekwon; Dennis Coles, aka Ghostface Killah; Jason Hunter, aka Inspectah Deck; and Lamont Jody Hawkins, aka U-God.

The only other member of Wu-Tang Clan who was there from the beginning was Russell Tyrone Jones, aka Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who remained with the group until his untimely death in 2004.

Along with its original members, Elgin Turner, aka Masta Killa, joined the group in 1993, and Darryl Hill, aka Cappadonna, came on board in 2007. Both remain with the group to this day.

While several of the Wu-Tang Clan members have pursued solo careers at the same time, they have continued to remain faithful to the core of the group.

Related: Method Man’s Net Worth & Biography

Where is the Wu-Tang Clan From?

The Wu-Tang Clan was initially formed in Staten Island, New York City.

Where Does Wu-Tang Clan Live?

It is believed that most, if not all, of the members of the Wu-Tang Clan live in the New York City area. It seems as though many of them will be calling Las Vegas, Nevada, at least a temporary home; however, considering the announcement in December 2023 that they’d be taking up residency at The Theater at Virgin Hotels.

The “Wu-Tang Clan: The Saga Continues … The Las Vegas Residency” held its first performances during Super Bowl week, February 9-10, and will have more shows during March Madness.  

wu-tang clan

How Did the Wu-Tang Clan Become Famous?

To answer that question, we must ask another. What single made Wu-Tang famous? It didn’t take long for the group to start getting noticed by fans of hip hop as well as some of the biggest regard labels in the industry at the time. In 1993, they earned a huge underground following with the release of Wu-Tang Clan’s song “Protect Ya Neck,” which was an independent single at the time. From there, the rest is history.

By following it up with the release of Wu-Tang Clan’s album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) that November, upon signing with Loud Records, things really took off. The album was so popular it was later added to the National Registry of the Library of Congress in 2022.

“The Wu-Tang Clan changed how the world viewed hip-hop with their first album,” according to the Library of Congress. “The group conveyed some of the most traumatic aspects of being African American with humor and charisma unlike any other African American musical group before.

“The Wu-Tang Clan was assembled of nine MCs, and they completely reinvented the standards of a hip-hop crew,” documents continue. “Their debut album was designed to be impactful and assertive to establish the band as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) did just that.”

RZA said of the record deal, “We reinvented the way hip hop was structured, and what I mean is, you have a group signed to a label, yet the infrastructure of our deal was like anyone else’s. […] We still could negotiate with any label we wanted, like Meth went with Def Jam, Rae stayed with Loud, Ghost went with Sony, GZA went with Geffen Records, feel me? […] And all these labels still put “Razor Sharp Records” on the credits. […] Wu-Tang was a financial movement.”

Related: 27 Bands Who Have the Dumbest Fans

method man on stage performing a rap
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Why Does Wu-Tang Clan Have a Chinese Name?

The origin for the famed group’s name was straight out of “Shaolin and Wu-Tang” (1983), a martial arts film that, according to IMDB, is about “two friends from rival schools (who) are turned against one another by a jealous chief who wants to eliminate those whose fighting styles may rival his own.”

Further, the word “Wu-Tang” derives from the word Wu Dang, which is the Taoist holy mountain in the Hubei Province of Central China.

What Religion is the Wu-Tang Clan?

This question is one that does not have a simple answer. For the full explanation, check out “The Wu-Tang Clan and Cultural Resistance”. For now, the short answer is that the group is seemingly influenced by the Five Percent Nation of Islam, better known as the Nation of Gods and Earths or the Five Percenters.

Related: Eight of Ten Wu-Tang Clan Members Have Gone Vegan

Why Did the Wu-Tang Clan Split Up?

Wu-Tang Clan has never officially broken up. As some of its members started pursuing solo careers, the group did step away from each other. There have been rumors from U-God that there has been infighting within the group as well as money disputes over the years, potentially prompting the shift to be less in the spotlight.


With a successful album under their belts, Wu-Tang Clan made an interesting decision as RZA, as production manager, founding other projects while members pursued solo careers. But, fans got what they had been waiting for in 1997 when the second of Wu-Tang Clan’s albums, Wu-Tang Forever, was released that June.

Debuting at number one on the Billboard 200, the album generated only one single, Wu-Tang Clan’s five-minute nine-verse song “Triumph.” Meanwhile, more solo albums were released by its members.

The group came back together again in 2000 for the release of their third studio album, The W, and even though Ol’ Dirty Bastard was incarcerated at the time, he was still able to sing on the song “Conditioner” featuring Snoop Dogg. This was possible via prison telephones. The album also generated the song “Gravel Pit” and earned the group a double platinum status.

The next year, the Wu-Tang Clan didn’t make fans wait quite as long for another album, releasing Iron Flag in 2001. It wasn’t without controversy, though, as rumored tension led to airbrushing Cappadonna out of the photos for the album and removing his vocals from the album entirely.

Tension only continued in 2004 when it was rumored that U-God had allegedly left the group, but then they eventually went out on a short European Wu-Tang Clan tour. As a result, a concert CD entitled Disciples of the 36 Chambers: Chapter 1, as well as a music video’s greatest hits album, Legend of the Wu-Tang Clan, were released.

Then, tragedy struck, as Ol’ Dirty Bastard collapsed while in the group’s recording studio on November 13, 2004. He died later that night. In the aftermath, the Wu-Tang Clan continually paid homage to their fallen brother.

Coming off the heels of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s death, members of the Wu-Tang Clan focused on solo projects again, including RZA releasing his book, The Wu-Tang Manual, and U-God releasing his album, Mr. Xcitement.

By the time 2007 rolled around, the group was ready to come back together again for some new music, releasing their fifth studio album, 8 Diagrams, under the new label, SRC Records. With this album, Cappadonna became an official member of the group.

While the album did well, once again, solo projects took center stage for the next several years until June 29, 2011, when the group announced that a new studio album was in the works. That eventually led to the release of A Better Tomorrow in 2014, with a lot of back and forth on whether the album would be completed before it finally came to fruition. It was all thanks to a new deal made with Warner Bros. Records.

The Wu-Tang Clan’s final album to date, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, was completed in 2015. The double album, complete with 31 tracks, did not have a commercial release like the other albums. Instead, just one copy was produced and was toured around museums, music festivals, and art galleries across the country. Then, it was sold for an exorbitant amount to a single individual – Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who paid around $2 million for it. Sadly, Shkreli lost it in March 2018 after the federal court seized several of his assets, including the album, because of his fraud conviction.

The album was later sold for $4 million to PleasrDAO, a non-fungible token collector.

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Written by Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth in 2015. She has worked in journalism since 2015, beginning as production assistant and eventual head staff writer of the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Currently, she is a multimedia journalist with the Diocese of Nashville's Office of Media and Evangelization where she writes, does photography, and edits for several types of content, including the Tennessee Register, Catholic Awakenings, and She has also worked as a freelance journalist with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas's newspaper, The Leaven, since 2016.
In her spare time, Peterson enjoys reading, spending time with her pup, Sadie Lynn, singing and songwriting.


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