Wu-Tang’s probably one of the illest rap groups to bless this planet. When they rhyme, they spit fire. Apparently, they can also conjure up a storm… or even a hurricane.
A new 2,000-square foot art mural on Staten Island—from where members of the Wu-Tang Clan hail—pays homage to the rap crew by placing its iconic Wu logo in the eye of a hurricane. It’s got a simple message: “BREAKIN’: Climate change ain’t nuttin to mess wit.”
Ain’t that the truth.
Street artist Cody Prez, along with local clothing company Richmond Hood Company, will unveil the art piece Saturday. Funded in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Staten Island Art, the bold mural shows love to Wu-Tang while trying to educate hip-hop lovers about our global climate crisis. The art is strikingly similar to an actual radar image you might see in a weather broadcast, using the channel 36 in tribute to the “36 Chambers” album.
Prez got inspired during Hurricane Maria last year. He was listening to some Wu-Tang when he saw the hurricane doppler on his TV screen. From there, the idea slowly evolved. The text even changed. It originally said, “Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck with,” the title of a song from the group’s “36 Chambers” album.
Then, it became a public awareness project. And kids got involved. Some eighth graders visited the site with honorary Wu-Tang member Redman. The creator of the rap group’s logo, Mathematics, was on site to see the piece, too.
“This was put together with children from the local community and art programs from schools,” Prez told Earther. “We made sure to involve them because the future of anything we know is what the children are going to present and put out into the world.”
Ain’t that the goddamn truth.
Prez is an artist, but he’s also an educator. He’s worked with kids before on outdoor art and will take on anything that’s grassroots, he says. Climate change is something he’s always cared about, but with “all the ignorance that comes along with the government we’re dealing with at the moment,” now just felt like the right moment to make a statement about it.
“I do some political artwork to twist people a little bit, but most of my work has a storyline behind it,” Prez went on “This wasn’t intentionally presented as a political piece, and I still don’t want to say it is. It’s about awareness instead of what’s going on in politics.”
And the team behind the piece is practicing what they preach. Spray painting can lead to air pollution and soil contamination, so the team resorted to water-based paint to help keep that from happening. “We didn’t want to put things into the atmosphere that would be harmful,” Prez said.
He doesn’t know if his next project will be on climate change, but he plans to most definitely touch on it in future work. He knows people don’t always want to pay attention to this stuff.
But climate change has no limitation, and Prez’s got no hesitation.