TalkBack: Sacha Jenkins on ODB and episode 3 of ‘Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men’

"Most people—including the Clan—remain fascinated by ODB. He was a complex individual with many sides."

Throughout the history of hip-hop, no single group changed the game in the same way the Wu-Tang Clan did. Director, Sacha Jenkins poignantly captures their struggles and triumphs in intimate detail in his SHOWTIME docs-series, Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men creating a group portrait that transcends music and delves into broader themes of race, economic strife, and brotherhood while weaving their distinctly raw and resonant sound throughout the four-part docuseries.
Each week, he will share his thoughts on the latest installment and what went in to creating the masterpiece.
Q: What was the most powerful moment in episode 3? Why was it so impactful? 

A: To me, the most powerful moment of episode 3 is when ODB simply walks into the light—literally and figuratively. We he him in the studio with Rza in what was probably one if his last recording sessions. The ODB we used to know wasn’t there but there were glimmers of his greatness can be seen but really we bare witness to the complex, yet tender relationship between these cousins.  

Q: How do you you think the Wu Tang clan influences today’s hip hop scene?  
A: Wu Tang and freedom and independence goes hand and hand. So many artists today are focused on owning their masters and controlling the marketing associated with their projects. The idea of branding—the WuTang W had been branded in the slums of millions. Artist today recognize the powers of the brand and are constantly weaving their taste and touch into the fabric of pop culture and society at large. WuTang was out here getting that money before anyone. 
Q: Is there any member of the group you think people still don’t understand? 
A: Most people—including the Clan—remain fascinated by ODB. He was a complex individual with many sides. Some good. Some bad. But inside of Mics we learn about Rusty—the name him momma called him. ODB has a very strong connection to Rusty. By all accounts, Rusty was a sweet, sensitive kid.  
Q: If ODB was still alive, what would he say about your project? 
A: I’m not sure what ODB would say about Mics. Ghostface Killah and Dirty were tight. On the red carpet, before our Sundance screening, Ghost approached me. “Aye yo, we good?” He was basically asking me if he thought I thought he would have an issue with the film. I gave him an honest response. “You tell me” was the response. “I can’t answer that. You tell me.”
After the screening, before I addressed the audience, I looked at Ghost. “Aye yo Ghost. You good?” He gave a long pause that felt like forever. Then, the verdict: “Yeah. We good!”
The crowd went nuts.