Clash caught up with the Wu-Tang Clan recently, speaking to multiple members including RZA, Method Man and Ghostface Killah. Our full feature with the seminal rap crew can be read in issue 88 of Clash magazine - as in, the one after our current issue (details on which can be found here).
Speaking about broadening the Wu family to include guests from the wider hip-hop world for the Clan's third LP of 2000, 'The W', RZA told us:
"We kept it personal until ‘The W’, when we invited in artists like Nas, Busta Rhymes and Snoop, and Redman. We invited Aaliyah as well, but it didn’t work out."
Wait... you invited Aaliyah, but it didn't work? Let's all think about how awesome it might have been, had the late Miss Haughton, who tragically died in a plane accident in 2001, got together with the Wu on what is, mostly, a blazing album.
At the time, of course, Aaliyah was much in-demand: she'd broken into Hollywood via her role in Romeo Must Die in 2000, and her eponymous third album debuted at two stateside in July 2001, just a month before her death. It'd go one position higher as news of her passing rocked the music world.
One of those things that never was - but what could it have been?
Some years later, it emerged that RZA actually wrote the Wu's hit 'Gravel Pit' for Aaliyah.
Speaking to the AV Club, in 2009, he said: "I wrote the song for Aaliyah, who we lost before she could do it. But it was written originally for Aaliyah, who was my favorite artist, and I felt every single she made was great."
Now, Aaliyah was very much with us at the time of the recording of 'Gravel Pit', so exactly what prevented the collaboration... we'll just have to find out next time. What's certain is that it's something we'd have loved to hear.
Here's 'Gravel Pit', which became Wu-Tang's first top-40 hit in the UK...
And here's the brilliant, still-missed Aaliyah...
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