This has to be one of the best concepts for an anthology I have come across in some time. It is unique in that the Wu-Tang clan as a unit have created this whole martial arts mythology that surrounds them and their output…but, how does a book about the Clan represent?!
Well, largely this anthology is impressive. The stories are all quite short, some are great, some are good and I’ll be honest in saying there isn’t one particular story I didn’t like to some degree. The contributors and editors have come up with a wide variety of stories. From crime, to literary fiction and even some Bizarro as well. The book works because the writers are clearly fans of the group and embrace the mythology of the Wu. All Clan members get some stage time and there are numerous mentions of Wu solo albums and tracks. Good stuff.
It would be very stereotypical of you to expect a book full of gangsta stories, although ‘Big Ghetto Boys’ from Gabino Iglesias kicks things off with some hard-nosed crime fiction that feels like an episode taken from his ‘Zero Saints’ novel. It’s a no-nonsense Wu-inspired gangsta story that in less capable hands would feel forced. Fortunately Gabino keeps his flow tight, dropping a serious fiction tune, tiger-style! Charles Austin Muir also slams and has come up with one of the best story titles in any anthology I have read. ‘The Raekwonomicon’ is equally bizarre and brilliant and as far away from Gabino’s story as you could possibly get. Could it all be so simple? No, but the Ironman delivers and it’s two from two. Joshua Chaplinsky then draws his Liquid Swords for ‘Supreme Mathematics: A Cypher’ – It is short and sweet, but I loved it. Elsewhere, other highlights came from Andy Raush with ‘The Night Ol’ Dirty Ba****d Came To Hoboken’, very amusing, particularly the dialogue from ODB! Laura Lee Bar also delivers a solid track of Wu-goodness and I loved ‘HellRZA’ by Aaron Besson. ‘PCP & Meth & Molly & Alcohol & No Sleep by J. David Osborne was….weird, but fun and it provided something a little different.
Overall, ‘This Book Ain’t Nuttin Ta F**k With’ is a varied and thoroughly entertaining collection of hip-hop fiction. If you love the band, you will get a lot from this book. For fans with little or no interest in the Clan, it’s difficult to see whether or not they will dig it, such are the stories so rooted in the Wu-mythos.
It isn’t the literary equivalent of ‘Enter The Wu-Tang’, It’s more like ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ where there are some moments of greatness sandwiched between other likeable bangers.
Pick up a copy from here.