The Details Behind How the FBI Treated the Wu-Tang Clan Like a Criminal Organization

NEW YORK - APRIL 1997: American rap group Wu-Tang Clan (L - R) Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Raekwon, RZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard GZA, U-God and Method Man pose for a April 1997 portrait in New York City, New York. (Photo by Bob Berg/Getty Images)

The Details Behind How the FBI Treated the Wu-Tang Clan Like a Criminal Organization

This is really, really bizarre.

Published October 14, 2016

It’s sounding like a lot of tactics the COINTELPRO used against the Black Panther Party are being re-introduced to target rappers; or at least, that used to be the case.

Vice recently uncovered a 1999 file on the Wu-Tang Clan revealing the FBI’s plans to spy on both the Staten Island collective and other groups. The files show that their monitoring focused specifically on what was going on within the culture and the community. It also reveals their disdain that apparently began since hip-hop’s birth.

In 1989 the FBI sent out a letter to Priority Records President Brian Turner, which reportedly states that their song “F**k Tha Police” was blatant disrespect to the police and all officers in the line of duty. Then dubbed the "Hip-Hop Police" their organization supposedly then grew that file to include surveillance on all rap groups with descriptions of gang activity in their lyrics. The Wu were apparently public enemy number 1 on that list.

Filed under the name “WTC” the then nine-member group had a 95-page file on them. The FBI worked alongside the NYPD in an attempt to diminish the Clan, however no charges were ever pressed against them. One surprising file though suggests RZA ordered the death of two drug dealers who had involvement with Raekwon. The full group was classified as a “major criminal organization” and was being investigated for allegations of drug dealing, gang ties and murder.

Even after all of this, the Wu remained untouched, because even the FBI knows Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to f**k with. Check out Vice’s full report here.

Written by Paul Meara

(Photo: Bob Berg/Getty Images)


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