Pioneers of hip-hop coming to Salt Lake City
Create a list of the most influential rap groups, and Wu-Tang Clan and De La Soul will be near the top.
Lucky for Salt Lake City fans, both East Coast hip-hop groups will be performing as part of the 2014 Twilight Concert series. Wu-Tang performs Thursday, July 31; De La Soul comes in Aug. 21.
Both groups have been around for more than 20 years, producing dozens of hits and attracting legions of fans.
Here's a snapshot of where these bands started and what they've accomplished.
Formed • 1993 in Staten Island, N.Y.
Members • All nine members work under pseudonyms, including RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, U-God, Inspectah Deck and Masta Killa. (Original member Ol' Dirty Bastard died in 2004.)
Best known for • After the release of its underground hit, "Protect Ya Neck," the band got offered many lucrative record contracts, holding out until it landed a deal that allowed each member to record solo albums on any label, basically making each rapper a free agent. Not long after, members began releasing solo albums.
Debut album • "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" was released in 1993. The single "C.R.E.A.M." won the band a devoted following.
Latest release • RZA and Raekwon reportedly had creative differences over their newest album, "A Better Tomorrow," with Rae initially refusing to record verses. RZA has traditionally played a huge role in the production of each Wu album, but Rae told Grantland in March that he "would be the first one to say that we cannot leave everything in RZA's hand no more." As of May, they had apparently reconciled, and the group's first release since 2007's "8 Diagrams" should be out soon. In the past year, RZA has dropped two tracks slated to be on the album, "Keep Watch" in March and "Family Reunion" in June 2013.
Trivia • RZA, a good friend of director Quentin Tarantino, did the soundtrack for the 2004 Hollywood blockbuster "Kill Bill."
De La Soul
Formed • 1987 in Long Island, N.Y.
Members • Vincent Mason (Maseo), Kelvin Mercer (Posdnuos) and David Jude Jolicoeur (Trugoy the Dove) formed the group while still in high school. Their demo record caught the attention of producer Paul Huston, better known as Prince Paul, who later named the group De La Soul.
Best known for • Songs with whimsical, irreverent lyrics and social commentary. The band has gained respect in and out of the hip-hop community for its contributions to the evolution of the jazz rap and alternative hip-hop subgenres.
Debut album • "3 Feet High and Rising" was released in 1989 and included the hit single "Me, Myself and I." It became an instant hit.
Latest release • De La Soul actually got inspiration from the Wu-Tang Clan for its 2013 single "Get Away (featuring the Spirit of the Wu)."
"I've always loved the 'Intro' on Disc Two of 'Wu-Tang Forever' this eerie sample with no beat, that they only talked over," De La Soul's Posdnuos told Rolling Stone in 2013 when the single was released. "I stumbled on the original sample while crate digging one day, took it straight to the lab and added drums. The feel is definitely gritty, hard and sounds like a Wu record, so out of inspirational respect, we included 'Featuring the Spirit of the Wu' in the song title." "Get Away" will be on De La Soul's forthcoming album, "You're Welcome."
Trivia • In 2006, the group earned a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Collaboration with Gorillaz on the single "Feel Good Inc."
Pioneers of rap
Salt Lake City's Twilight Concert series features two pioneers of rap.
Wu-Tang Clan • Thursday, July 31, 7 p.m. Special guest Run the Jewels.
De La Soul • Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Special guest Rapsody & 9th Wonder.
Where • Both concerts take place at Pioneer Park, 300 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City.
Tickets • $5 at24tix.com/twilight or at the door