Long been considered one of hip-hop’s foundational cornerstones, Wu-Tang Clan have proven themselves as lyrical lynchpins who ushered in a whole new lane for the genre to latch onto. The trailblazing collective boasted cleverly-stacked rhyme patterns that encapsulated the grit and grime of their Staten Island upbringing, while shrewdly weaving in witty kung-fu references that flipped the game completely on its head. Comprised of nine core members—each of whom rallied behind their own distinct style of rhyme—the revolutionary group would go on to inspire an army of eager rhyme spitters decades after first breaking out onto the scene. Unknown to them at the time was a familial bond that would eventually filter down to their actual offspring; now known to the rest of us as 2nd Generation Wu.
They have made it a point to make clear that they are not a cover band of what their fathers built, nor are they some kind of conceptual spin-off in it to make a quick buck. 2nd Generation Wu honors the legacy of what was laid out before them, but have shaped a body of work that alludes to a skillset distinctly their own. Consisting of iNTeLL, the son of U-God; PXWER, son of Method Man; SUN GOD, son of Ghostface Killah and “Young Dirty Bastard,” son of the late “Old Dirty Bastard,” the group are mindful of the comparisons their DNA draws naturally, but are more than willing to put in the work needed to make a name for themselves.
In the Fall of 2019, 2nd Generation Wu dropped their debut single, “7 O.D.” In a clever nod to Wu-Tang’s hit smash C.R.E.A.M., the track opens with the lyrics “God made everything around me; Forget about the money; None of it is real y’all,” and from there, trade flows with one another in a way that expresses who they are as lyricists, but more importantly as men.
iNTeLL, one of the group’s founding members, boasts as unique a backstory as his sharp pen and quick wit will have you believe. At the tender age of two, the rapper was accidentally hit in a crossfire leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The bullet pierced his spinal fluid and completely destroyed his left kidney in the process. Advised that he would never be able to walk again, his resilience to “march” forward—even as a fragile toddler—manifested into a personal calling card, and is a trait he has proudly carried forward today into young adulthood. Aside from making music, iNTeLL’s own creative agency, Intellectual Entertainment, can best be described a platform to help upcoming musicians navigate through the murky waters of the music industry, offering production work, visual direction, and marketing & promotion.
Earlier this month, iNTeLL dropped his latest project Computers For The Hood–a collaborative effort with noted producer DLP. The 11-track album juxtaposes the raw synergy between DLP’s old-school beat work against iNTeLL’s insightful stories that pay homage to rough and tumble New York upbringing. As intuitive as his bars come across, the man feels no ways about letting the pen go loose, as evidenced on the track “The Owl Cry.”
iNTeLL meshed creative forces with urbancoolab’s AI designer to create a conceptual collection, dubbed ØFF•SPRįNG—a playful, yet respectful allusion to 2nd Gen elation Wu’s infamous forefathers.
We caught up with iNTeLL to learn more about his personal backstory and the process he undertook in co-designing the collection alongside the power of artificial intelligence.
Can you tell us about your craft and your journey as an artist?
My craft is WORDBENDING and the journey has been one with many challenges, but also has great moments of personal growth and just outright fun.
What do you hope to accomplish with your craft?
There are many but the main objectives is to become fully self sufficient from music and to gain the respect of my peers. The main goals are to make a huge impact on the world in a positive way and to have my legacy remembered for 1,000 years on mars.
How did your journey as a creator begin?
My creative journey began with legos. That’s the first tool I can remember utilizing to fully unlock the deepest crevices of my imagination.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I’d say there have been many different motivators for what I do, what I did and what I’m going to do. But currently, I do what I do because it feels good.
What piece of advice would you give to someone following a similar path?
Know your worth and Invest in yourself.
What is the main inspiration behind your capsule collection?
My Inspirations for ØFF•SPRįNG are that I don’t follow whatever the fashion seasons or timelines are, so you might catch me wearing something off spring. Also, Im the offspring of U-God from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, leading heir to the WU-Dynasty.
How does the collection tie in to your brand story?
My name represents what I provide through my music, it also emphasizes my love for information technology. What better way to further build upon that than designing something not just with a computer but WITH a computer.
What was it like building your collection through artificial intelligence?
An absolutely fascinating experience exchanging opinions with A.I. instead of dealing with a creative human.
What are your thoughts on the increasing intersection between technology and fashion?
I Believe the future is not just allowing A.I. to design, but also enhance. Imagine a pair of pants that can make you faster or a shirt that can make you stronger or like Batman’s utility belt in the lining of your suit.
2nd Generation Wu’s ØFF•SPRįNG collection is now available for purchase via urbancoolx.
Photography: Christine Cruz Photography