Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Rock

We’ve seen indie rockers reach out to hip-hop’s most recognizable collective (or at least the most recognizable hip-hop collective to indie rockers). But lately, it’s been Wu-Tang Clan making the moves. This week Judgment Night 2009 is in full force, with genres meshing again and RZA, GZA, and company at the heart of it.

Of course, it’s not an isolated Wu thing: Over the past weeks, Kid Cudi’s hired Ratatat and MGMT, Roots joined the Dirty Projectors fanclub (and backed Pattern Is Movement on a D’Angelo cover), etc. The guys in Wu-Tang Clan have always been open to off-the-road and etc collaborations — hence the headline nod — and you don’t want to even start unpacking samples, but a few fairly associated Wu-rock projects have popped up here in a short while, so we thought to point it out. Also, turns out Ghostface Killah loves Vampire Weekend

The revelation came this weekend in a NY Times Playlist where he mentioned discovering VW via an iPod his manager’s 15-year-old son left behind:

You know how kids be, they on [stuff] before you be on [stuff]. But he knew what he was talking about. The beat was like something I never heard before. It was interesting. It sounded like they could’ve had have some Jamaican in it. I try to listen to all music with an open head, a clear head, try not to say just because I don’t know it, it’s weak.

Keeping your head open to beats is the connector between the various showings. We posted briefly about RZA, Raekwon, and ODB’s ghost working with the Black Keys on the duo’s Damon Dash-instigated Blakroc. In a series of behind-the-scenes videos shot at Studio G in Brooklyn, you can see them focusing on the beats. The first one is especially instructive once you can get past the giggling hangers-on:

If you think this Black Keys thing sounds familiar, you might be remembering GZA’s collaboration with a different “black” band, Black Lips: in concert and on “The Drop I Hold.” That’s sorta old news, but he’s continuing his adventurism. You’ll find him with Buckshot & Tabi Bonney on the Mick Boogie-curated Peter, Bjorn & John Re-Living Thing remix LP. He’s also a fan of Devendra Banhart, who tells NME:

I played Coachella, and, lo and behold, I looked on the sidelines and there was GZA. I was stunned …. So we hung out and talked — we talked about atomic energy and how the sun is powered. We talked about dark matter. Then I sent him my catalogue. And he said “Hey man, will you write some stuff? Let’s write together.”

No details yet on that potential collaboration, but we will hear him rapping on a remix of Devendra’s “Baby” in the near future.

And there’s more. After King Khan played with GZA at NXNE, the BBQ Show ringleader told Spinner:

“GZA was really happy about the guitar-playing thing, so when I was at home on Garage Band I made some hip-hop songs to send him. He flipped out [over the tracks] and wants me to be a part of his next record.”

Elsewhere you can hear Feist producer Mocky, aka Dominic Giancarlo Salole, have his GZA moment in this remix of “Birds Of A Feather” from his Saskamodie album:

Mocky – “Birds Of A Feather (Feat. GZA)” (MP3)

Despite all of this intermingling, Method Man missed the memo and surrendered to Staten Island officials today to face felony tax-evasion charges when he should’ve been in Williamsburg. Whatever the case, before you know it Jay-Z will be on MTV raving about Veckatimest.