Wu-Tang Clan is still going strong after three decades. The legendary rap group is the focus of a new docuseries, Of Mics And Men, which details their rise to fame and their subsequent lineup changes. The latter point has led many to ask: who are the living members of Wu-Tang? Which of them have have died? Learn more about the group’s 2019 lineup below.
Today, Wu-Tang’s crew largely resembles the group’s original 1992 lineup. The group’s founder and de facto leader, RZA, is still in charge, while Method Man, Raekwon, GZA the Genius, Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah and U-God still tour and contribute verses to the group’s studio releases.
Founding Member Ol’ Dirty Bastard Died Of an Overdose In 2004
Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the group, died from a drug overdose on November 13, 2004. He was the second member to release a solo album, and among the group’s most colorful personalities. RZA talked to the Source about Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s untimely death, and how he wishes he could see how big the Wu-Tang brand has gotten.
“He’s not here to see this happen. He’s not here to see how far our music has traveled,” he explained. “Me and him started with no recorder. Just in the hallways doing the beatbox… rapping. Now, here we are in a digital age inside of our own speaker.”
Wu-Tang Has Several Affiliates Who Aren’t Official Members
Despite being dead, Ol’ Dirty Bastard has remained a notable presence in Wu-Tang’s music. RZA made a point of including vocal snippets of the rapper on their 2014 album A Better Tomorrow. “As far as the album, I was able to get some vocal samples of his voice embedded in the album so you can hear that. I made sure that he had some presence on this record,” RZA said. “I pulled up some accapellas, some of his wordings and sounds to some of the music so we can still feel that O.D.B. energy. We miss him drastically and immensely.”
Wu-Tang also has many “affiliates” which receive support, financial and otherwise, from within the group. These are collectively known as the Wu-Tang Killa Beez, or simply Killa Beez. These “affiliates” include Killah Priest, Popa Wu, Lord Superb and Young Dirty Bastard, the son of O.D.B. Lord Superb died of unknown causes in October 2018. OkayPlayer reports that he fell into a coma and never regained consciousness. He was 41. None of the Killa Beez are considered to be official members.
Cappadonna Was Made an Official Member In 2007
Cappadonna, a former Wu-Tang affiliate, is the most recent addition to the group. His status as a member has varied throughout the years, with fans and rappers alike considering him to be the “Unofficial Tenth Member.” He was featured heavily on Raekwon’s debut album, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, as well as Wu-Tang’s The W, but a falling out with RZA over royalties led to him being absent on their subsequent album, Iron Flag. He was officially added in 2007.
RZA clarified Cappadonna’s status within the group during a press conference. “Cappadonna is an official member of Wu-Tang Clan,” he said. “He’s been an official member of Wu-Tang Clan since 8 Diagrams. In the early days, if you know our history, you know some of us wasn’t here, you know physically present, when this Wu-Tang thing popped off. Some of us was on iron vacations, as we like to call it.”