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JOHN 'MOOK' GIBBONS [WU-TANG MANAGEMENT] 
[ The New Wuvement (Interview)]


Interview Date: January 2011

Published Date: 26th April 2011

Conducted By: Dark 7 Invader

Notes:
 Transcripts from audio interview;
Contributions from Reccollectah (Wu-International),
Special thanks to Tanya Hornage (Wu-Tang Management)


Interview

In the early nineties, John Gibbons, the president and CEO of Wu-Tang Management and known to the industry, family and friends as "Mook", helped turn the unknown Wu-Tang to unprecedented acclaim multi-platinum selling industry leaders of today.

In 1991, Wu-Tang was merely RZA's dream, but the now multi-platinum producer brought his dream to his cousin the dream maker-Mook, who with his traditional college and non-traditional street education, was already experiencing success from his own private entertainment business venture,  party and club promotions. Operating mainly behind the scenes, Mook used many informal and grass roots strategies to get his artists recordnized.

Before Wu-tang had a deal, Mook singlehandedly sold more than 50,00 unit's of their very first CD. Showcasing them in a major industry conference such as "How can I be down?" and conventions, getting them local airplay and publicity in newspapers articles and radio stations, touring state to state at various college campuses etc.

Mook successfully orchestrated the structure 'Wu-Tang' as we see and know today. With nine artists to produce, market and promote, he assembled producers whose professional and creative skills show many talents and diverse experience. The end result: profit deals, contracts and multiplatinum artists.

With a vision to add on to the brand and maintain the longevity of the brand, Mook also created the infamous Protect Ya Neck productions and label alongside Wu-Tang Management and these companies were responsible for the likes of Deadly Venoms, MMO, KGB and a host of artists that added on to the Wu legacy. Having taken some time out of the industry, the creative mind of Mook has returned in person to do what he does best, manage talents, create opportunities and bring to life ideas that will keep the Wu-Tang brand and movement (aka the Wuvement; a term he invented and likes using) alive. From the much talked about "Next 9 Generals" competition to Wu World Radio, the DJ coalition, Wu-Tang TV to a host of others, it's easy to see how and why this man was one of the masterminds behind the greatest legacy in hip-hop today, Wu-tang!

Find out as Wu-International chops it up with Mook, and covers everything the fans ever wanted to know, who and what makes an individual Wu-Tang (an issue Wu-International tried to address early this month with 9th Prince), who are part of Wu-Tang management? the position with Watchmen, controversial Next 9 general competition, Wu-tang's history, The RZA, Protect Ya Neck, Deadly Venoms, and everything, literally everything the fans wanted to find out about, it's a long well worth educative read, so sit back, smack a Wu CD on and enjoy the ride, you can thank us later, Enjoy!!! 


I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking the time to answer these questions, highly appreciated, and will also point out that nothing will be altered, edited or changed when this is published online.

Wu-International: Thanks for agreeing to do this especially as we appreciated how busy you must be. Older Wu heads certainly know you but for the new fans can you kindly introduce yourself and let us know, who you are? Where you are from etc?

John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Peace, This is John 'Mook' Gibbons, founder and CEO of Wu-Tang Management, originally from Brooklyn, New York, but now reside in Shaolin, Staten Island.

Wu-International: Please share with us what the role of Wu-Tang Management (WTM) is?

John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Well the role of WTM (Wu-Tang Management) is the same role as any other management company that manage entertainers

out there, our jobs and duties are to guide and direct entertainer's professional careers, in addition to representing the brand by ensuring that the brand lives on, the Wu-Tang brand that is, We represent that so that the brand will live on.

Wu-International: How old is this management and why and how did it all start? 
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Well, WTM is as old as Wu-Tang Clan is, WTM came in at the very beginning of Wu-Tang Clan, before we put out the single "Protect Ya Neck" it was Wu-Tang management, we didn't call it WTM at that time, or I didn't call it WTM, I was just there managing the sales of the singles, vinyl's, cassette tapes back in the days, I funded the first batch of the records, and I was setting up tours, interviews, going to different colleges, bum rushing clubs, you know we were doing it all at that time. At the very beginning all this was going on and we did not call it WTM, at that time we were just Wu-Tang, and then once we started solidifying deals, we put in place a management; hence Wu-Tang Management.

Wu-International: Itís a great story how you sold Wu-Tangís music out of the trunk of your car before they got signed, apart from RZA being your cousin, what else made you believe in their product to invest and help push it?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Basically at the very beginning the only reason I got involved was because RZA asked me to, and originally I told him I was not interested, because I was doing all kind of things at that time, I was on the streets, in the entertainment business, from promotions to street parties, renting out clubs, having talents, you know the whole nine yards, and when they approached me with it I just didn't see it.

But we had a family event, I think around 1991, during thanks-giving, and RZA asked me again, but this time, there was fire in his eyes, the determination and the tone of his voice when he spoke to me about it really made me to believe that he was going to go all the way out. So at that time I told him I will get down with him, I got involved and I put a 110% into it, and all I asked was also to get back that 110% or more from him into his own projects, and that's how I got involved in the beginning.

Wu-International: Did you envision that the brand would go on to become the world wide phenomena it is today and why do you think that the name and brand is probably the biggest name in hip-hop today?
John 'Mook' Gibbons: I did believe that it would be as big as it is, actually I imagined it to be even bigger, to this day, I don't think that we've reached the potential that we actually have. At this time I believe we still have not reached the climax, or the magnitude that we imagined ourselves to be at.
The reason why is because when you get a group of men to come together, and they are all thinking the same, all want the same, and working diligently for the same result, then there is nothing stopping you, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. We all got together and all got committed to this project, I am not just talking about the artists or the original generals, you must remember each member or each man that was involved at the beginning also had a crew, so if you have 12 individuals that's committing themselves to this, and each one of them have a crew of 10 or more individuals, you have a posse, you have massive number of individuals that's willing to make this happen and that's what we had at that time. It wasn't  just the rappers as you may see, or the generals, (You can not be a general without a crew), so when we went out there and did shows or see shows, we had like a hundred people with us. No matter where the shows was at, New York, Philly, Baltimore, Virginia...  wherever, and wherever we went we had at least a hundred, a hundred and fifty or close to two hundred individuals with us rolling to a show. That's because each man had his crew, and each crew rolled with us, so it's not surprising to see how big Wu-Tang has become. 

Wu-International: Our understanding of the Wu brand is that RZA, the labels such as Wu Music Group, and the generals are only ones allowed to endorse or initiate artists into the family tree to become what the fans know as Wu Killa Beez (e.g. Killarmy, Sunz of Man etc). This we feel has helped move the brand and name forward, however some of the fans also see this as watering down the quality of the 'W' and Wu logo, what are your thoughts/views on this?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  My views on this is that, the expansion is not about watering down anything, nothing can be watered down when you are adding on to it, when an individual say the brand is being watered down, I have to disagree, when we started and I had a vision for this, which was to always add on to it, if you don't add on, it will die out, it's just like anything else, you must add on. When you think of Killarmy, Deadly Venoms, Shyheim, Sunz of Man, La The Darkman, Royal Fam  and so on, that's just adding on, that's like extending life, and it's branching out, you know you look at a tree, it has many branches, and then on each branch you have many leaves, and it's extended to four or more? that's what we are doing there, even until today when we take on new prospects or new artists, new ventures, new businesses, we are not watering down but adding on to the brand.

Some people might say these new individuals that we are taking on don't rap as well as the original 9 generals, don't have the skills or captivate the crowd as the original generals do, but you know, that's just how it is, you are not going to have the original generals all made up all over again, that can never happen. Itís just like Mt. Rushmore, you have the founding fathers of America in Mt. Rushmore etched in stones, but after those founding fathers and those presidents you still have other presidents of America, you still have more individuals that participate or partake in making great things happen in America, some do it well as the ones on the walls and others do not but they still add on.

It doesn't take nothing from the original, but you must add on, you have to add on, if you don't add on, you die out. That's just the way of life, that's mathematics, just look at your own family tree or your own family, you got your mother, and your father, then you might have siblings. If your father has one son, and that son dies before he makes a son, that generation is cut off, everything is made to extend life, in business, in family, as well as in Clans, you know the 'W' must live and to live you must add on. Granted each individual has sons and those sons might come up and take on the prospects of their dads, but itís still a bigger picture, itís still more, you must bring in more, and teach more..

Wu-International: A question the fans always want to know about within the tree is that some artists are in the tree due to affiliation or close ties and others due to business, would artists that fall under Wu-Tang Management also be considered as a Killa Bee even if they have no direct tie, or connection but just business?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  This is the situation; if any individual is signed to WTM, that doesn't classify them as Killah Beez, all that classifies them as are simply artists signed to WTM, The WTM is a business, WTM just don't manage the Wu-Tang clan, actually we don't even manage the Clan no more, we work with them but each one of them have their own personal managers at this point in time. Once upon a time we managed them all but not now.
WTM is a company that does business, and once we take an individual and manage them, that individual is not Wu-Tang, or Killa Bee, that individual is his or herself an artist that is managed by WTM.

Wu-International: Thanks, that makes a lot of sense, we will get back to that in regards to the likes of Deadly Venoms, MMO etc.. for now can you then tell us tell us how an artist becomes part of WTM? What are the requirements, skills, criteria needed to be down?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Let me start by saying this, I am the C.E.O. and head but WTM currently has quite a few managers, each individual manager scouts for talents, they know the criteria which I am looking for in an artist, and if they see something that they like and feel that they can make it happen, then I support them because they support the company. If they want to bring an artist under the umbrella because they fit the criteria then I tell them to bring them on, but right now we don't have too many artists under Wu-Tang management.  I know when you probably look out there and you hear all these people crying or rather reppin and saying that they are under WTM or signed to WTM but to be honest the only people that we currently represent are Krumb Snatcha, Mul-Ty, Cappadonna, and Boy Jones. Those are artists that we represent.

To add on to this, as it has come to my attention that a number of people are claiming to be signed to WTM, then ask them to present a contract, and we don't represent any or most of those people that claim WTM right now.

Wu-International: Interesting, we will get specific much later once we get this pre or regular questions out of the way. Back in the days the use of the Wu logo by anyone that was not part of the collective or family would have warranted a law suit or frown but it seems these days anyone and their grandmother who does a song with Wu can slap on the "W",  what are your thoughts on this?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Well to be honest, that would be a question for the RZA. RZA controls the logo, I know, you know, and everybody knows that there are so many people out there that rep the logo to the heart. However this is my take on that; 
The logo represents the clan, but the logo also represents a movement, now when you have individuals or small crews that feel in their heart, that they represent this movement, and they display that logo, it's not just representing the clan, but also the movement, which we call the Wuvement, I mean you got people that we don't even know that got the logo tattooed on their body, they rep this to the heart, some individuals out here will die for that 'W', and it's hard to tell that same individual when they feel in their heart that they are part of something, and to not acknowledge them because they are not immediately linked from the management company, or from one of the 9 generals or others like Popa Wu, Divine, Power etc, they are not represented by none of these entities, you know it's hard to tell an individual what he can and cannot do based on his own beliefs.

Now granted, you can say "Yo g, you can not represent that logo like that"  you don't know how they are going to react as you could be crashing someone's hope and dreams, or destroy their long life admiration or whatever it is. That's not what we are trying to do, those individuals that are representing the 'W', and believe they are for the cause, we want to embrace them all, and regulate the use of the 'W' and utilise each individual so that they  can be recognised.

Wu-International: Wu-Tang management was also more than a management company as we know it was linked with Protect Ya Neck (PYN) records and productions. Can you please tell us more about PYN, how did it start, is it still functioning as a label?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Protect Ya Neck (PYN) today as a label is in a dormant stage, the connection between PYN and WTM was fate, I started working with the Deadly Venoms, MMOs, KGBs, and few other individuals out there that got my attention at that time, and  wanted my assistance, most of the people I already knew them from back in days from Brooklyn, and I wanted to assist them as I felt they had what it takes to get out there, and be successful in the entertainment business, so we formed Protect Ya Neck (PYN) productions, and we utilized that to be a catalyst for all those new artists.

Wu-International: So was everyone that was part of PYN records also managed by WTM, and getting back to a follow up from above, if you said that being under WTM does not make one Wu-Tang, where does that leave artists under PYN?

John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Absolutely, everyone on PYN was managed by WTM, artists that were mentioned above are the ones that can be considered Wu, as they paid their dues, had family ties and were not just part of the management but also the label and productions.

 

Wu-International: Personally I am a big fan of most of the artists that came out from PYN like MMO, Deadly Venoms, KGB, Ice Grillz (Iron Sheik), Bambi etc can you please tell us whatever happened to PYN and the artists that were signed under it?

John 'Mook' Gibbons: Well, everyone's moved on, speaking of M.M.O., they are still my doggz, actually I was just with them the other day at the Wu show, they are still around and they are still doing their thing, you should be hearing from them real soon.

Personally with the label and acts I took a step back, I took a sabbatical as you may say from the entertainment industry, from WTM, PYN etc, I took a step back from everything. I needed to reorganize myself, put my prospective back in order based on my life. Some of the things that were happening in my personal life took me way left when I should be going to the right, and to get myself back in order I had to put everything at the back, from the Clan, to the management, Protect Ya neck, the artists and everything that had to do with this industry. I was just available to a few individuals by phone, and assist them whenever I can without actually getting involved with anything personal.
when I left that moment, that's when the clan members got their new managers, M.M.O. and the rest of the artists over PYN had to go on and fend for themselves and do what they had to do. That's what happened with that, but as you probably know WTM is being re-launched, and we will be reintroducing new ideas to new people, and coming back to reenergize the brand.

The artists are still around though, doing their own thing, everybody is a little bit older now and you may not even hear them rapping but they may be behind the scenes, ghost-writing, and booking tours for individuals and so on and so forth.
 

Wu-International:  Thanks, You are a master of innovation and ideas with the current ďNext 9 generalsĒ and others, but let's talk about the most popular group from the list above for a minute, Deadly Venoms; the female version of Wu-Tang that the fans consider to be a great concept, group and project that really never got it's deserved shine, can you please share with us how this group came about, your involvement and its current status?

John 'Mook' Gibbons:  
 Well it came about from two young men by the names of Storm and Russ Prez, they came to me with the idea of putting these females together, I met with the ladies and they definitely had skills, they had something that I felt would work, so I took on the project, took them under WTM as well as PYN and we ran with the project, we had a few deals out of it but you know, it's hard sometimes when you are dealing with a lot of women.

It's like this; when you are dealing with a lot of men and you have disagreements you can stand up and flex, when you deal with a lot of women you can't really flex the same way, it's like, men are going to respect men regardless, women are going to respect you too but you know, they don't do it as they say they are going to do, and then we had personal relationships involved within the whole crew, and that created problems, to be honest I think the destruction or the demise of the Venoms was an all in-house situation, I think dealing with the whole in general between the producers, artists and the management team didn't work the way it should have, you know it was self destruction in all.

I would admit that every aspect of that click played a part in the demise of it but I do hear that Storm is working on something to put them back together again, but WTM will not be involved with it at all.

Wu-International:  Thanks, You mentioned meeting M.M.O. early, are they still part of PYN/WTM ?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  
Well MMO, Trigga as I said before, they are doing their own thing right now, but as far as love, family and respect goes, those brothers can get anything from me,  anything at anytime. I will go out for them, I love them brothers, and that's for real.

I was building with Sha (Itchy Finger Sha) the other day, actually Sha sent me some music and he came out with an idea and I am like "Yo, you know it sounds like a plan, let's see where we can take it to" but at this very moment we are not working together but who know what the future holds. 

Wu-International: Another name tossed around that time was 'Rocks The World' (RTW) which was run by Russ Prez and Storm, was RTW also part of PYN or WTM?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Absolutely, Russ Prez and Storm of Rocks The World were both signed to PYN productions as producers and they were directed by WTM.

Wu-International: We know these are old artists from the roster and WTM  have evolved into something different today, please re-list again those who are down with WTM for the sake of clarity?

John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Correct,  I did that already previously, you have K.S. (King Solomon) formally known as Krumb Snatcha, K.S. is a rapper from the New England area who used to be down with Gangstarr Foundation with great Guru (RIP) and now he rolls with WTM, you also have Mul-Ty, he is an R&B singer who is loved by the ladies, he got mix styles and he picks up from where Gerald Levert left off, not comparing them, God bless Levert, I love that man, but I believe Mul-Ty is capable of picking up where Levert left off at. 
 
We also got Cappadonna, original general and Boy Jones, the son of Ol' Dirty Bastard. Those are artists that we are representing in this present time, anything can happen tomorrow, we can pick up more or we can lose some because at WTM we don't own nobody that don't want to be there. Paper work don't mean nothing, you sign today and you want to be released tomorrow, and we let you go. It's just how we operate.

Wu-International: Thanks, now let's dive into the newer entrance The Watchmen, they recently dropped a double LP under WTM, which has been well received by the fans, can you please tell us how you got involved with this group?
John 'Mook' Gibbons: 
We did get involve with them but do not represent them. Earlier in this conversation, I mentioned that there are a lot of people out there who are claiming that we represent them, but we do not, we may have conversation with them and we were going to represent them but things didn't work out, there is no contract signed, there is no official stamp of dealing with them, and no seal of approval for doing what they are doing, we spoken with them and they were stunned when we told them to chill with that.

It's like this;  fact I was saying before, when someone represents the 'W', and they put that tattoo on or their heart on to it, it's hard to tell them like '"Yo, we are not representing you so you can not represent that W", well it's not hard to do that business-wise but it is hard for the individuals to accept it, so they constantly come up with all the reasons why they should be there, or why we should be involved with them. So like I said, we are in a process of working out something for those individuals out there who want to rep this 'W' to the fullest and are going to obey the laws and regulations of Wu-Tang, we are going to find a way where they can be a part of what we are doing, under the guidance of what we are doing, and follow the guidance of WTM, and they can represent it in the proper way.
I've spoken with different individuals of the crew, and everyone says they are affiliates, these people are affiliates, you know I don't know no affiliates, so I came up with a definition of affiliates.

Affiliates as far as I am concerned; is a glorified fan, that's my definition for affiliates, Wu-Tang has the Wu-Tang generals, Wu-Tang management artists, Wu-Tang Family (Killa Beez) and Wu-Tang friends. Some people will look at Shyheim, Killarmy, LA The Darkman, The Black Knights and all of them and so on as affiliates, I don't look at them as affiliates, I look at them as family, I put them in the prospect of family, they are not affiliates, that's why I am telling you the definition that I am displaying, the definition that I am bringing forth of affiliates is a glorified fan. So those names I just called are not affiliates but part of Wu-Tang family. Then you have the friends who have been around for quite a while now and they are acknowledged by the generals, the management staff, and Wu-Tang productions, which is RZA, these people are acknowledged by them and also fall under the tree.

Affiliates?! well everybody is probably an affiliate, and an affiliate like I stated is a glorified fan.

Wu-International: Thanks for clearing that up, we were under the impression the group were once part of WTM, as they were once listed on your site and later taken out, please shed more light on why it never worked out between both parties?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  We never officially solidified representation, there were talks of representation but never officially set. Bottom line is this: if you want to be represented by Wu-Tang Management in any form or fashion you must comply. If you canít comply then we canít apply. I donít want to go through all the different things because this is peopleís careers we are talking about . We are not trying to shit on nobody, I wish them all the luck and all respect to the Watchmen. Weíre working out something where we can have affiliates you know, glorified fans, can come and where things could work but that's all that is.

Wu-International: The leader of the group BlackMask indicated that the management wanted a different direction for the album as well as not having the time to manage the group due it's numerous ventures; do you care to speak on this please? 
John 'Mook' Gibbons:   If you think about it, the previous question deals with that it'self: you need to comply.

Wu-International: So on a last note with the Watchmen, where does that leave the group in regards to being part of the Wu-Tang family tree, are they Wu or not?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  They are not Wu, they might be considered affiliates based on the definition I have used earlier, Gloried fans. Where that status of affiliation is gonna be something we can work on down the line if they are willing to comply, representing as seen fit.
Let me just add on to this; all this here, are still pertaining to dealings with the original Generals and RZA to make sure all this is possible, filed to come to when you are dealing with affiliation. Cause WTM is just one entity. We can represent as we please but if you want us to say youíre an affiliate is one thing. Affiliate of Wu Tang Management is one thing but running around saying youíre an affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan is a whole other thing, you know? That right there: the only one that calls that shot, is RZA and he calls that shot with the rest of the Generals.
 
Wu-International: Thanks, that leads me to Krumb Snatcha, new artist under WTM, established already in the game with ties to Gangstarr Foundation.  With him being part of WTM as you stated, does that make him part of the Wu-Tang family tree or just an artist managed by WTM?

John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Absolutely, he is a part of the extended family tree cause heís coming in directly. Heís not just coming in as another artist represented by WTM. Iím putting my hands on -K.S. (Krumb Snatcha) personally because I feel him like that and I respect him like that. So yeah, heís coming in under the WTM branch of that tree, with John 'Mook' Gibbons the head of that branch.

Wu-International: Thank you, was Blue Raspberry ever part of WTM? We ask as she was also listed on the site earlier and also wanted to find out what the situation is with an album from her as the fans have been waiting?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Well, Blue is family, she appeared on many albums of the Clan, she is etched in stone as that soultress voice of the Clan but she is not represented by WTM. We know who she is, we respect her, and we love her. But she works with some other brothers out of Detroit and I believe they are doing a decent job, probably even a great job with her project . But they are from Detroit and they represent Blue Raspberry.

Wu-International: We are aware of NLZ, and Justis Hype working as for WTM, can you please tell us more of others involved in WTM that are not part of it as artists?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  OK, yeah. You got Amar D. Mitchener, he is the executive officer of Operations at WTM, he is a veery diligent worker that I hold a great deal of trust in, one of the brothers thatís out there thatís really working hard to bring this company back to life to the forefront. Then you have Jimmy S Kang, out of the New England area, one of the Vice Presidents of WTM doing a great job out there restoring the brand as well. You got my trusted other hand Tanya Mitchener-Hornage, Operatins manager at WTM, keeping me on point with things I do. Pinky: thatís my other assistant doing a big job out there on the West Coast. We have a lot more people: Big Herc, KR, K-One, Big Daddy O, Big Jay, Hazz C. Noble, Deirdra, Helena, Bars, Enoch, Kareem, Sixty... thereís a whole lot of other people working behind the scene trying to establish the rebirth of WTM.

Wu-International: Thanks for those answers, letís move on to your new ventures, the next 9 generalsí competition, what inspired or prompted this idea in the first place?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Well, what prompted the idea was when I started looking at record sales, at todayís artists thatís getting all the limelight, spotlight, out there doing their thing ... I say ... ďItís time to Inspire the world again with Wu Tang!Ē. Now how can we do that ? Wu-Tang Clan came out like in í91-í92, took the world by storm, got an imprint in the planet Earth that no other rap group did and will do ever again in life. But todayís children, todayís audience, youth are not really checking for Wu-Tang Clan. Yes, they have heard of them and know of them but they are looking for the Lilí Wayne's, all them other cats like that. Cats that are a lot younger who they can relate to. So I decided itís time to add on. Like I told you earlier; itís about adding on, so the brand doesnít die, the brand multiplies. The Saga Continues! To add on, we must teach. So the Clan, the original generals must teach a new and younger breed the laws of Wu Tang, how we operate so these younger individuals can go out there and infiltrate the market where as they can have all the youth gravitating to them. Because now, weíre teaching the young that can go out there and attract the young cause they know how to reach that audience a lot better than we do. Itís not about us trying to do it all ourselves, but itís about us trying to get it done ... by any means necessary. And now itís about time for us to teach the next set of individuals that can go out there to teach the Wu-Tang way of life.

Wu-International: Lots of fans consider this a blasphemy and a mission impossible and mockingly called it ďWu IdolsĒ. At first glance, it's maybe an understandable reaction from  loyal fans, maybe they don't get the real concept behind the idea like you do, can you please summarize the real idea behind it again for the non-believers? why do you need another 9 generals?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Well, itís not about replacing, itís not about having anyone taking the place of the original Generals Ö You know, teachers, even in school: when youíre going to school (kindergarten, first grade, second grade and so on), the teachers that are teaching you were put there by someone. Even once theyíve become teachers, they sit in a classroom with a teacher that Ďs more advanced, thatís been there, that knows the ropes. So that teacher is teaching the teacher so he can teach the youth or the students. Thereís no difference man, we have to. This is how it continues, this is evolution. This is how we keep going and for that to happen we have to stand up, the Generals have to stand up and teach their Wisdom and Knowledge to the young and inspire those that want to learn, those thatís willing to represent the 'W' to the fullest. Once they acquired that Knowledge they can go out there and teach this audience what we are about. Because the audience will listen to them because their swagger and slang is related, everything about them is related to them because they are from that same audience. You know you have a 40 year old man telling an 18 year old kid: ďGive up that corner, cut it out.Ē At the same time that 18 year old is going: ďI gotta get money, I ainít got time for shit, I ainít trying to hear you preach to me!Ē But now you got another 18 year old kid coming to that same 18 year old kid saying: ď Yo G, you ainít gotta be here like this. I show you how you can get this money without doing thisÖĒ, you know? So he is coming to him in a way that he can understand more. So itís not the point of the route or the avenue of how the message is getting there but the point of matter is that the message gets there , you follow me?

Wu-International:  It's ok for American Idol to put together a boy band, but this is something that you cannot compare to Wu-Tang Clan who were all friends and family and came together naturally without going through a showcase or competition, what do you have to say to this?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  What I say about that? Yo, you canít reinvent the wheel. If Iíd try to do that, thatís like trying to reinvent the real, Iíd be trying to like start a whole new Wu-Tang Clan up. You canít do that, Iím not trying to do that. Thatís not what this is about. Thatís the key, thatís the Corner Stone right there, the Foundation! Thatís the original Generals. This is the beginning of the era, I canít reinvent that but I can add on to it. Not by going to go to a new neighbourhood and grab a bunch of cousins and little rascals and friends thatís been together since elementary school and try to make another group out of it: no, that would be trying to start another Wu Tang. Thatís not what we are doing, we are trying to add on. So to add on, this is the route that we see to add on. And why do we take this route? So we can be very selective. Many may come but only a few are going to be chosen. Remember RZA said that in í92, and right now itís time for that to happen. Many may come but only a few shall be chosen.

Wu-International: Itís been stated in a couple of online sites that some of the original Wu-Tang generals and heads do not support this competition?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  
Itís like; I wouldnít say they donít support it, but I would say they are not rejecting it, they are not publically disrespecting it. Everyone needs to see where Iím coming from with this. These are heavy thoughts I have in my head, this is something I have been thinking about for quite a while. And donít think I havenít spoken to the Clan: I spoke to each one of them about this. Itís not like I just decided to just do this, like I woke up and say ďFuck them, Iím gonna do this. No, I could never do no shit like that. Just because everyone donít agree with me on this, doesnít mean that itís not the right thing to do. And as time goes on, individuals may see where exactly I am coming from. But like I said my brothers support me, they may not like this thought at the present time but they still love me.

Wu-International: One can then argue being a Wu-Tang fan, that the competition is a waste of time and money to form something new modelled after the generals. Why donít you use that resources and money to put together 9 Wu-Tang Killa Beez like say Timbo King, LA The Darkman, Killa Sin, Priest, Darkim Be Allah etc to become part of this new development, after all they are official, got great skills, already known and respected within the fan base and are actually part of that Wu-Tang movement instead of a competition for strangers with no link whatsoever? 
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Because it takes me right back to where I was already ... Why would I need someone thatís been standing next to the original Generals for the past 16 years to try to teach someone that is right now not even listening to the original Generals? Iíd be worse off trying to accomplish what Iím reaching for by grabbing someone at my right side or my left side then grabbing someone maybe 10 years behind me on the clock. In other words, it's like this; the Killah Priest, the Royal Fam/Timbo King, ... great artists, I love those brothers and they know that, I been with them too. But they have the same characteristics, the same influences that the Clan have. They are not going to reach this new audience either, so Iíd be wasting my time and their time, wasting all of our time if I was to reach out to them and say ďLook, youíre going to make it, you guys gonna take the next roundĒ . No they had their part, their part was to be where they was and do what they did and be a part of that crew when the Clan wrote their role. They did their jobs and they continue to do their jobs to this very day. Everyone is handling their business. This next group of individuals are gonna have the same exact thing going on. When we choose 9 individuals, these 9 are gonna have their boys. They gonna have their crews to come along and tag along, and gonna start believing in what we are believing in, eating the way we eat, thinking the way we think. This will continue and add on . Thatís the whole idea, the whole plan : to add on to what we are doing. I donít need to make a lateral move, I need to add on and bring on the new. I need individuals to contribute to what we are doing.

Wu-International: Great answer, however if that is the case, then why not get the next generation of Wu that are actually Wu, you have young and up and coming artists like ODBís son (Boy Jones), Young Justice (GZAís son) and we know Master Killa and U-Godís son (iNtell) also make music, and in your argument speak the same slang and swagger like the new targeted audience, what about getting them in the mix instead of  random newbie's?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  
Well, thatís a great suggestions right there, that is one of the original plans. The way I look at it is like this; those individuals you just mentioned and this name: "The Sons of Wu Tang" ... I believe that would be the project, thatís what it should be called : ďThe Sons Of Wu TangĒ , where there is a direct bloodline from the original Generals to come up. But this is me speaking and Iím not gonna bite my tongue. Presently , right now ... I donít think itís time for them. I think they need to be groomed some more, they need to be around their dads a little bit more on the road and go out there and experience some things. Like ODBís son is doing right now, heís experiencing a lot more things by being on the road. as can be seen, he is on previous and future tours with the Clan, and I think the rest of the sons need to be doing that as well and then they can develop their craft a little better. In all honesty: we got wolves out there man, letís just think of it as the law of the jungle. The law of the jungle is: the strongest survive. The King of the jungle is the lion ... when you look at the kings of the Jungle you are looking at the Clan. Each one of the members is a Lion, they are the kings of the jungle. They represent this with the power and the strength of the almighty. Their sons automatically could be kings but right now they are cubs. If you see cubs out there in the jungle alone without the protection of their parents they get eaten alive by wolves. Iím not one to sacrifice a cub to make a fan feel happy or make any individual happy. Iím not one to do that. I believe the cubs need to be taught to the fullest by their parents, who can teach them better than the original Generals? So once they are out there and theyíve developed their skills and their craft and have taken it to the next level where they are then they are gonna be strong lions out there cause they gonna rule. But till that time, Iím not the one willing to throw them out there to the wolves cause you got some hungry ass dudes out there thatís been doing this for years, waiting for an opportunity . I think that to do it the right way , the young gods need to develop their craft some more and with a few more years down the line theyíll be ready, not to be sacrificed but to go out to rule.

Wu-International: Thanks for the answers, we had to play devilís advocate on that as these are questions the fans sent in, for those that still donít understand what you are trying to do here can you please shed more light about the competition itself, the process involved, the expected output and who or what determines the winners?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  The competition is basically a combined situation where you got American Idol, The Apprentice, ... quite a couple of shows. It is a combined situation where all these different things created will stimulate the mind of the individuals and the consumer so everyone can see something, feel something and believe in something. Thatís what it is.

Wu-International: So what will be the name of the next 9 generals, would they also be called Wu-tang Clan?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  No, theyíll be called the Next 9 Generals. To be honest we are in debate right now of changing of changing that name. In debate of changing it from The Next 9 Generals to something else and that decision will be made by the end of January. Weíll reach out and make it official: Whatís the new name and concept of it ; cause we are looking to re-launch it, kick it back in focus in Spring of this year.

Wu-International: Will you be looking for a similar line up of generals like the Clan? for example someone that will have similar quality and style to say The RZA (Producer, MC, The Abbott) or the flow and swagger of say Raekwon within the group for all 9 generals?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  Negative, Iím not looking for none of that, I am just looking for originality, strength, and a concept ... Iím not looking for the alphabetical rhymer you know. Iím looking for individuals that captivate a crowd, Masters of Ceremony, MCís : thatís what I am looking for. MCís, not just rappers, that have got something to offer. And thatís not so far-fetched that they canít be taught because this whole idea of the Generals to be the Professors at school or in Rap College ... a School of MCíing as GZA say.

Wu-International: Thanks for those answers again, letís move on to another of your initiatives, the Wu World Wide DJ coalition, what's this about?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  This Wu World Wide DJ coalition is just an idea to re-establish the grounds that the DJís are the cornerstones in this business and they need to be recognized again. Their talent is what really started all this stuff . If we go back to the days, back to the parks where this music originated, it was the DJís who were doing their thing before the MCís took off. It was the DJís playing music and the MC, he just grabbed the mic to introduce the DJ, to hype up the DJ where everybody was listening to the cuts and the scratches. It wasnít about the dude on the mic, it was the dude on the mic talking about the dude that was scratching. So we took it back to there and we want everyone to realize we recognize that. To be a part of the movement or in better words the Wuvement , and to have the Wuvement move in a positive formation, as a strong formation; we need a bonafide  group of DJís to be a part of this and thatís why we decided to do the Wu World Wide DJ coalition.

Some of the Coalition DJs already doing big thing for the wuvement. Some Coalition DJs already have there own mix show on Wu-World Radio every week. We are still adding to the roster but these are a few of our DJ Coalition Wu-Radio mix show line ups... You have DJ Intrigue every Monday from 9pm-10pm, DJ Swift every Tues. from 3pm-4pm (bilingual show), DJ Ron G. every Tues. from 9pm-10pm, DJ Kareem every Wed. from 9pm-10pm, DJ Dramatic every Thurs. from 9pm-10pm, and DJ Butter B. every Thurs. from 10pm-11pm just to list a few. Our fans can expect big things from our DJ Coalition in the coming months.


Wu-International:  Cool, you wrote an online book some years back ďHow to Become Successful in the Music BusinessĒ how well was this received and will you be writing another book anytime soon??
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  
Iíll definitely be writing another book. This first book was received pretty well, it sold a decent amount of copies. We all were quite happy about the achievements of it, it could have done a lot better you know, but it did well for a first time. It was something I just threw out there, I didnít really go all in dept like I should have. But the next one will be more in dept, it will have a lot more topics, some personal experience ... just look for that in 2011/2012.

Wu-International:  I for one did buy the book but to be honest have not read it all, If not mistaken, you also had seminars or classes during the release of the book, is that still going on?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  At the present time none of that is going on, I am not doing any seminars. Right now everything is about the rebirth of Wu-Tang Management. Thatís the heading where we are going as well as the Next 9 Generals. Those are the projects we are working on. Right now my personal project: writing another book or anything like that is put to the side ... itís just like Protect Ya Neck records in a dormant state so we can focus more on what we are dealing with today.

Wu-International:  You have done almost everything except rapping or singing, how is your skills in that regards and can we one day see or hear Mook on the mic?
John 'Mook' Gibbons:  {Laughs} Way back in the days I was an MC but today Iím not. Nah, you wonít be hearing me on no mics, you wonít be hearing me on anyoneís albums, you wonít see me dancing in no videos. Iím a behind-the-stage man, always been there and always will be there .
Iím doing interviews now because itís needed to introduce what weíre doing now. Itís needed for me to speak out publically so the fans and the world know itís just real. I am the individual whoís supporting this, I am the one bringing this to the forefront, as one of the original Wu Tang bangers involved in this . Itís not just somebody from outer left field trying to make a dollar. Iím not trying to capitalize off a chump change, this means a lot more to me than making a few dollars

Wu-International: Thanks for your time and answers, a couple more questions and we are done, what is WTM currently working on or planned for the future that have not already been covered in this interview?


John 'Mook' Gibbons: The things that we didnít cover , Iím sorry but I canít reveal that information at this point cause itíd be letting the cat out of the bag. Pretty much we spoke about everything that we are dealing with.

Wu-International:  Thanks, do you have anything else to say or add on, perhaps shout outs, message to the fans etc??
John 'Mook' Gibbons: 
Yes, I do. I would love for everyone to go to www.wu-world.com and register,  join the movement, excuse me, join the Wuvement and be a part of the Wuvolution where we are really coming back full force, taking the world by storm once again. Tune into http://www.wutangradio.com/, check ourt Wu TV, you know, Wu World-Wide Dj Coalition, Wu-World, ... check out all of that , get involved with us, we want you to come here if you are a fan of the Wu Tang or one of the Generals, check it out, we are representing all that and more. Once again: this is real, this is hard. This is Wu-Tang at it's best, trying to re-establish what we once had and take everything that we do have and combine it so that we could be a Force again. With that Iím gonna say Peace , thank you all, thanks to everybody at Wu-international.com and everybody else ... PEACE!


Wu-International:  There have been new developments since the interview and here is what Mooks wanted the fans to know?
John 'Mook' Gibbons: 
The "Next 9 Generals" competition has been changed to "36 Chambers School of MCeeing" due to all the confusion that was caused. People were getting the wrong idea because of the name of the competition, so we decided to rename the competition.
We will start auditions again this summer (June). Registration begins on April 15th!



Keep up to date with Mook o Wu-Tang Management
www.WuTangManagement.com 

www.Wucompetition.com/
www.Wutangradio.com/
www.Protect-ya-neck.com/



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