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Selected as a Best Book of the Year by Esquire “Couldn’t put it down.” – Charlamagne Tha God “Mesmerizing.” – Raekwon da Chef “Insightful, moving, necessary.” – Shea Serrano “Cathartic.” –The New Yorker “A classic.” –The Washington Post
The explosive, never-before-told story behind the historicrise of the Wu-Tang Clan, as told by one of its founding members, Lamont “U-God” Hawkins.
“It’s time to write down not only my legacy, but the story of nine dirt-bomb street thugs who took our everyday life―scrappin’ and hustlin’and tryin’ to survive in the urban jungle of New York City―and turned that into something bigger than we could possibly imagine, something that took us out of the projects for good, which was the only thing we all wanted in the first place.” ―Lamont “U-God” Hawkins
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, invivid detail, the making of one of the greatest acts in American music history.
“This book is great couldn’t put it down finished it in 48 hours U GOD ALLAH REALLY LIVED HISTRUTH.” – Charlamagne Tha God
“Mesmerizing.” – Raekwon da Chef
“U-God has been with Wu-Tang since the start, and this book chronicles the entire saga: rough beginnings in Brooklyn, a vivid project adolescence in Staten Island, and a glorious leap into the insanely talented collective that would become the center of the music universe. There’s never been a book that deserved its title more.” – Questlove
“Unexpectedly moving…Raw feels cathartic, as Hawkins finds the language and perspective to reckon with his past. His moment in the spotlight may be over, but he now has something that few of his Wu-Tang brothers, still so admired by a younger generation, have: the distance to tell his own story. He has often been forgotten, and has sometimes been ridiculed, but he was part of one of the great hip-hop groups of all-time―perhaps the only member who is more man than myth.” –Hua Hsu, The New Yorker
“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
“You cannot tell the story of hip-hop without the Wu-Tang Clan, and you cannot tell the story of the Wu-Tang Clan without U-God.RAW is an insightful, moving, necessary book for anyone with even a passing interest rap.” – #1 New York Times bestselling author Shea Serrano
“From its blunt opening line–‘Time is a motherfucker’–Raw: My Journey Into the Wu Tang is brashly funny.” —Brag Magazine
“Eye-popping.” –The Guardian
About the Author
Born Lamont Jody Hawkins, U-God is an American rapper and hip-hop artist and one of the founding members of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan. A native New Yorker, Raw is his first book.