TV Trailer Watch: Showtime's 'Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men' Goes Deep on Hip-Hop Legends

WU-TANG CLAN OF MICS AND MEN Still 1 - Sundance Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Welcome to Trailer Watch, a regular feature that helps put the spotlight on series that may fly under the radar in the crowded Peak TV landscape. Each installment will explain what the show is and why it looks interesting. This week it's Showtime's four-part documentary about hip-hop icons Wu-Tang Clan.

Showtime has been carving out a niche for non-fiction storytelling with its documentary films and programming like Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee, Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic and Burn, M*therfucker, Burn. Sacha Jenkins, the director of that searing documentary about the L.A. community's response to the police beating of Rodney King, is now taking on one of the most important music groups of all time, Wu-Tang Clan, in a new four-part docuseries for the cable network.

Wu-Tang Clan broke onto the international music scene when they released their 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), which is now widely seen as one of the most important albums of all-time. Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men focuses on the career of the unorthodox group, including their founding, massive success and eclectic career paths that saw the members RZA, GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck, and Masta Killa take on multiple solo projects and a large role in shaping contemporary hip hop as well as crafting the sound of '90s East Coast rap.

Of Mics and Men offers unique insight into the group and their earliest days almost three decades after they first began to create music together. Using talking-head interviews, archival footage and anecdotal stories, Jenkins presents a visual and oral history of the iconic collective. With projects like this and YouTube's G Funk, hip hop is taking its place as a subject worthy of documentarians thanks to directors like Jenkins and networks who recognize the importance of black musicians and their massive contributions to the wider cultural landscape.

Using the perspective of the artists themselves, Jenkins is centering the series not only on the origins of the group but also its members, with an exploration of what life was like as they were growing up in Staten Island in the 1970s and '80s. Though Wu-Tang has been massively popular for decades now, the prospect of getting context on their earliest days and how they shaped their work and impact is exciting. 

Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men premieres May 10 on Showtime.