The Wu-Tang Clan are considered hip-hop royalty. Remarkably, none of the founding members have told their story—until now. Here, for the first time, the quiet one speaks.
Lamont “U-God” Hawkins was born in Brownsville, New York, in 1970. Raised by a single mother and forced to reckon with the hostile conditions of project life, U-God learned from an early age how to survive. And surviving in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s was no easy task—especially as a young black boy living in some of the city’s most ignored and destitute districts. But, along the way, he met and befriended those who would eventually form the Clan’s core: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, and Masta Killa. Brought up by the streets, and bonding over their love of hip-hop, they sought to pursue the impossible: music as their ticket out of the ghetto.
U-God’s unforgettable first-person account of his journey, from the streets of Brooklyn to some of the biggest stages around the world, is not only thoroughly affecting, unfiltered, and explosive but also captures, in vivid detail, the making of one of the greatest acts in American music history.
"A classic rags-to-riches tale, from drug dealing on the streets of New York City during the crack epidemic in the 1980s to fame and fortune. It’s a nostalgic look back on hip-hop music and the wild times in New York City before it became a playground for the rich."—The Washington Post
"An absolute thrill ride and will most definitely . . . give unknowing readers an amazing journey through an incredible life. RAW is full of jaw-dropping anecdotes about what growing up was like in some of the [New York's] roughest neighborhoods in the 80’s and full of rich life lessons that were won out of pure perseverance."—Metro US
Reviews from Goodreads
STARTED OFF ON THE ISLAND
Growing up as hard, as rough, as wild, as crazy as we in Wu-Tang did, death was always a part of my life.
I remember the first time I saw somebody die. I was only about four or five years old....