The crowd chants the infamous battle cry, when the voice of Raekwon blares through stage speakers. It’s just Mathematics playing “The Reign” from Rae’s latest album, The Wild.
RZA appears on the stage, causing a bit of a stir, as the legendary New York City-bred crew take the stage one at a time. Bobby Digital is joined by GZA, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, “the kid with the golden arms,” U-God, and Masta Killa, who receives a rather embracive reception from the crowd. As the sun begins to set, faint cheering turns to a triumphant roar when Method Man makes his appearance, milly rocking along the way, and splashes water onto the sea of buzzed attendees.
The 9 Milli Bros. take the eager audience through the 36 Chambers, but something isn’t quite right. Cappadonna also joins the fun, to a similarly impressive reaction from the crowd as they eat up all of his bars in a “give the drummer some” fashion. And it is here that the Wu-Tang Clan tower mighty.
The scattered gems from their extensive catalog causes the crowd to scream from the top of their lungs. Everything from Ghostface’s “Fish” to “Older Gods” blasts from the stage, a set designed to read SHAOLIN APARTMENTS - 160 Park Hill. But fans can’t get enough when Bobby Digital introduces “C.R.E.A.M.” From an audience perspective, there’s nothing better than seeing this battalion of warrior, whose records still seem as if they were recorded in the pits of the hells beneath our feet, unite on their home turf to rock the crowd on a late spring day.
And what’s a festival without a scoop of butter pecan Rican? Intoxicated women and guys too-cool-for-school grind on one another as Meth delivers his iconic hook from “Ice Cream.”
RZA later instructs the crowd to throw up the ‘W,’ a call to arms for all initiated Wu-Tang fans, and chant “it’s Wu motherf—er.” The crowd complies.
After a brief run-through of “It’s Yourz,” the Clan pays tribute to Ol’ Dirty Bastard with a performance of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” as the late emcee’s son, Young Dirty, shines in his place. “I can’t tell the difference between this n—a and his father,” RZA remarks. “If your father was here, he’d probably do something like this,” the mischievous opening of “Got Your Money” rings aloud and Young Dirty proceeds to recite his father’s lyrics.
Although the crowd’s reaction to “Gravel Pit” was lukewarm, Method Man revamped the energy with “Da Rockwilder.” And although he initially tried to trick the audience into believing that Redman wasn’t there to help perform the record, the Muddy Waters auteur arrived just in time for the line “Doc, Meth back in the flesh” to come to life and the attendees of Governors Ball lose it.
Following Redman’s departure from the stage, RZA gets back on the mic to remind everyone that today (June 3) marks the 20th anniversary of Wu-Tang Forever, as the album’s disc two “Intro” plays underneath.
“20 years plus, we still here… we still doing it,” Method Man told the audience as their set drew to a close.