Wu-Tang Clan has one of Hip Hop’s most iconic logos and it’s certainly among the most recognizable. Originally drawn by Wu-Tang’s DJ/producer and former graffiti writer Mathematics, the split yellow and black W is inextricably linked to the legendary Hip Hop collective.
On Thursday (January 6), Mathematics announced his new NFT collection dubbed “The Man Behind The W.” In a promo video for the collection, Mathematics pokes fun at his position in group as its least recognized member. Competing with Method Man, RZA, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Cappadonna, Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck and U-God isn’t necessarily something he wanted anyway.
“I remember when the DJ was the forefront, then it became all about the MC,” he says. “Then I got the illest MCs in the world, and we took about 10 of them. I always felt like as long as my brothers are good, I’m good. I’m with my brothers. That was the brotherhood mentality that we all had with each other. Time passes on, and we’re lucky to have the longevity. You get older, you raise your kids, send them to school and pay your bills, while doing what started out for me as a hobby. You look at things different.
“Now it becomes certain points where yeah, you have to step out. Some people didn’t know I created the W or produced certain beats. Even in the earlier days, we might go to the mall and do some shopping. For me, this is one of the places I did get the idea for the promo video from. I didn’t like going to the mall with Meth, just because of the attraction he pulls. He’s a great dude and his energy … he respects the fans and talks with the fans. He interacts. It’s a beautiful thing. But like me, I might have to get to soundcheck or something, and I’m like, ‘Alright. I gotta go.'”
Mathematics has been on the move long before Wu-Tang Clan blew up. As they were just getting off the ground, RZA asked Mathematics to come up with a logo for the group — and he remembers exactly where he was when he drew it.
“I’m from Southside Queens,” he says. “I was at the 40 Projects, apartment 5A on the fifth floor, right on the corner of 159th Street. I originally started off DJing for GZA when he was on Cold Chillin’. When that went sour, that’s actually the first time I actually really did production. I just didn’t know it was production.
“I remember GZA was talking about getting another deal. It didn’t go too good. I ended up going to work for my father. My father was a carpenter by trade, so he brought me in and I was doing carpentry. Then RZA, GZA and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, they was already talking about forming the Wu-Tang thing.”
With GZA no longer on the Cold Chillin’ label, Mathematics juggling carpentry, graffiti and DJing and RZA already producing, the blueprint was there. One day, RZA called Mathematics and said, “Yo, I need these joints.” Of course, Mathematics was down and popped over to the local bodega before he got started.
“I got me a 40 ounce,” he recalls. “I got me a nice little sack and a Philly Blunt. I was smoking Philly Blunts at the time. I rolled one, took a few pulls, a couple of sips, broke out the black book and drew it on the hard floor. When you do graffiti, you have different type of letterings. That was similar to one of my letterings of my W. Then it was influenced too … it has a Kung Fu edge to it and it leads into the karate flicks.”
The rest is history. Nearly 30 years after the release of Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, the Wu-Tang Clan is still going strong. Mathematics launched the first installment of his NFT collection last week called “No Pork On My Fork,” which was recently featured on Season 2 of the highly popular Hulu series, Wu Tang: An American Saga. As the title suggests, Mathematics has been vegetarian since 1997 and has since graduated to veganism.
“I stopped eating pork in 1984, so it’s like ‘No Pork on My Fork’ basically,” he explains. “That’s mentally as well as physically, because it’s like physically, it damages the body. That’s not the best thing to eat. Mentally, it’s like, listen to the things that we call the pig. We call them slobs, we call them dirty. They live in mud, filthy. We call them swine. I was always taught we don’t want no type of swine. So somebody’s ‘swining’ you was not good.
“And they say pigs are intelligent animals and they are, but so is a swine, snake-ass mutherfucka, too. They’re smart. They’re cunning, so I say, ‘No pork on my fork’ — that’s period. That’s mentally as well as physically. All across the board.”
While the collection boasts over 11,111 unique pieces with 200 character traits and six different breakouts, Mathematics led with “No Pork On My Fork” for a very specific reason.
“When I did the Hulu show, the first thing they showed before they showed me is my black book,” he says. “And in the first page, we opened my black book, it was the first thing that was on there because I wasn’t going to put no swine in my book. So before I move forward, it’s like, none of that is in here. Everything in here is going to be righteous. So, basically, that’s what I’m saying about this collection that’s coming — there’s no swine here. You ain’t gotta worry about that here.”
“The Man Behind The W” collection was created in partnership with NFT aficionados Nice Drips and theFarmacist. Find more information here and check back with HipHopDX later this week for Part II of the Mathematics interview.