As one of the most influential crews in the history of New York hip-hop, Wu-Tang Clan brought a style of its own right out the gate. The raw productions from the RZA gave the group’s tracks a chilling, instantly recognizable atmosphere. The unconventional use of dubbed kung-fu audio was intermixed with samples from classic soul records. The tracks were peppered with pop culture references and Staten Island slang, transporting the listener from wherever they were in the world to the New York borough. That feeling of ‘90s New York is forever immortalized on Wu-Tang’s debut record, Enter The Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers) which was released in 1993. The album raised the notoriety of not just Wu-Tang as a group but also helped launch their successive solo rap careers. Wu-Tang’s sound was not the only driving force behind its rise, the group had a distinct look for everything they did, from music videos to photoshoots.

Wu-Tang proved themselves to be way ahead of the curve by releasing its own lifestyle clothing brand in the mid-’90s. First revealed in 1995, Wu-Wear was one of hip-hop’s first clothing lines and was sold at major retailers like Macy's and Bloomingdale's. Wu-Wear showed how forward thinking Wu-Tang was in terms of marketing themselves. The independent venture capitalized on the group’s success by offering streetwear staples that packaged the essence of Wu-Tang’s lifestyle into a concise product line. The line was discontinued in 2008 but was revived earlier this year through a deal with Live Nation’s merchandise division. The timing couldn’t be better, as nearly 25 years have gone by since the group’s debut album.

While each member of Wu-Tang had their own personal style on the mic, they also had widely varied ways of dressing. It was that diversity and uniqueness that helped set them apart from other hip-hop crews at the time. Looking back at the height of Wu-Tang's legacy reveals some of the elements that made each member’s style iconic and help tell their respective stories.

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