It is with heavy hearts that we report that Freedum “Poppa Wu” Allah, a longtime affiliate of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, has reportedly passed away. An unnamed representative of the Wu-Tang confirmed the somber news to Rolling Stone Monday night (Dec. 16).
No further details pertaining to his passing has been confirmed at this time. Wu reportedly died at his home in Brooklyn, according to the magazine. He was 63 years old. While Poppa Wu appeared on numerous Wu-Tang records, he was especially known for his role as the group’s central spiritual guide and mentor. Considering that he was the older cousin of founding members RZA, GZA and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Wu was foundational to the formation of the hip-hop supergroup.
His teachings on the philosophy of the Five Percent Nation heavily influenced the group and its affiliates and was a prominent component of the group’s music.
Condolences have been pouring in from across the world since fans have learned of Wu’s passing. Multiple members from the Wu-Tang Clan took to social media to pay their respects to their late mentor as well.
“No words! #rippopawu #theoldergodsputmeontohowtorockthis,” Method Man penned alongside a throwback photo of him and Wu together.
Ghostface Killah also posted a photo capturing one of his last moments with Popa Wu.
“Rest in paradise my brother @popawu7 forever tell dirt we love and miss him...All praises do to the most high,” the Supreme Clientele rapper wrote.
GZA posted a snippet from Hulu’s acclaimed Wu-Tang: An American Saga television series that featured a fictionalized version of Popa Wu extolling the tenets of the Five Percent Nation.
“R.I.P. Popa Wu,” he captioned the post.
Raekwon also took the moment to express his bereavement of the sudden loss of Popa, writing, “can’t believe your gone!!! This hurts. #PAPAWU #restinpeacegreatone.”
U-God echoed those sentiments in his own post, writing, “RIP to the one and only PAPA WU my sincerest condolences go out to the entire family.” He included a link to Ghostface Killah’s “Black Jesus,” which features Popa Wu, U-God and Rae.
The rest of the hip-hop community and other industry peers have reacted to the news, too. DJ Premier, comedian Capone, Pete Rock and Mathematics were among some of the others that have shared their thoughts in acknowledgment of one of music’s most legendary figures.
Popa Wu is survived by his two sons, who previously rapped under the monikers ShaCronz and Freemurda, according to OkayPlayer.
BET sends its prayers, love and light to the family, friends and fans of Popa Wu during this difficult time.
(Photo: Lars Niki/Getty Images for Hulu)