In 2012 it was revealed that the FBI had been monitoring the Wu-Tang Clan from 1999 to 2004, which was learned after group member Old Dirty Bastard died and an FBI file on him was unsealed.
In nearly 100 pages, it detailed the feds’ belief that Wu was a criminal enterprise that was involved in murder, drug dealing, illegal gun selling, weapons possession, money laundering and other crimes.
The FBI also worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the Justice Department to investigate the group and build a case against them.
It was something that some of the group members talked about with The Daily Beast in an article published this week.
“When you have things designed and in place for a certain group of people to not succeed and you start to see them rising, you want to know how they’re doing it,” said group member Masta Killa. “If music is that tool where you start to see people who are not designed to win start to make it, then you’re going to target that system and try to find a way to control it.”
“That’s false,” said group member Cappadonna about the Wu being a gang. “And we ain’t never got in trouble with the feds. They might have been trying to observe us, but they were observing everybody.”
Wu-Tang also discussed a photo that members Method Man and Ghostface Killah took with former FBI Director James Comey last year, because they were all guests on the same episode of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in April 2018.
Comey is also the same person who led an investigation to see if Donald Trump colluded with Russia to affect the 2016 presidential election until Trump fired him in May 2017.
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Me and my brother @methodmanofficial Workin on getting that album back from the feds… wu Tang forever @comey
But before that, from January 2002 to 2003, Comey was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, plus, from 2003 to 2005, he was the U.S. deputy attorney general, and both entities were working with the FBI in their Wu-Tang investigation.
“You know what’s crazy?” said group member RZA. “Ghostface put up a picture with Comey, and during that period of the feds’ investigation, wasn’t he the leader of it?” “Now an FBI director is out here taking pictures with the Wu-Tang Clan, man.”
The Wu also talked about their album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” that was never released to the public, sold at an auction for $2 million and owned by disgraced former hedge fund manager and “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, who is serving a seven-year federal sentence for securities fraud.
But the album was eventually seized by the U.S. government after Shkreli was indicted, and RZA said he has no idea where it is.
“It’s got a life of its own,” he stated. “Who knows where it’s at? It might end up on the moon. But if it knocks on my door, I’ll let it in.”
“That sh– is crazy. It’s out of control right now. [Robert] Mueller got it?” asked group member U-God.
As regards the federal investigation of Wu-Tang, the FBI was reportedly looking at a lot of hip-hop groups at the time, which was detailed in a 2016 Vice report.
“It’s not just hip-hop, it’s young people they’re targeting,” RZA told The Daily Beast. “It’s a system, and the system needs to be fed.”