Le photographe Daniel Hastings, directeur de Atomicus Creative Group, revient sur la création de 5 covers mythiques des années 90, notamment sur deux covers qu’il a réalisé pour le Wu-Tang : « Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) » et « Only Built 4 Cuban Linx ».
Wu-Tang Clan, ‘Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers’
« This was late 1993, in New York. I went to Wu-Tang’s Firehouse Studio and spoke to RZA. I recall this memory. He said, ‘You know this sweatshirt right here … I’ve been wearing this sweatshirt for three days. But I got beats.’ So I was like, ‘Tell me what you want for the cover.’ He wanted a monastery, sort of like ‘Enter the Dragon,’ an Asian feel. At that time, I found the Angel Orensanz Foundation. It was an old dilapidated synagogue. There were old pianos, an altar and a stage set-up. We were the first people to actually make that Wu-Tang logo out of foam core and carve it out huge and put it in there.
The day of the photo shoot, we waited for the guys to come on the Staten Island Ferry. True story. They didn’t have no cars. They came in, but Method Man and U-God didn’t show up because of some situation. They were like, ‘What should we do?’ If I didn’t see them at an Atlanta show prior, I wouldn’t have come up with that suggestion of using the stocking masks over their faces. We used one of their managers and someone else in place of the missing guys. When it came out, that record and the cover, it was so impactful. I didn’t have a cellphone at the time, this is 1993, my phone couldn’t’ stop ringing. In one year, I did 38 album covers, there’s 52 weeks in a year. An album cover a week. »
Raekwon, ‘Only Built for Cuban Linx’
« This was my sophomore Wu-Tang. They came with money now. Budgets were bigger, expectations were higher. When you see the first [‘Enter the Wu-Tang’] cover, Raekwon is wearing a shoestring with a key on it. So the transition from that, to now having jewels, Jesus pieces, it’s a whole different ball game now.
The concept for the album was a Last Supper scenario, where the eight members would be in front of a dinner with jewels and money and wine. Raekwon would be in the center, Tony Starks [Ghostface Killah] would be on the side. They were drinking, smoking, thugging it out. Ol’ Dirty Bastard came very late. He was very upset at the entire Clan because none of them showed to his ‘Brooklyn Zoo’ video. He was yelling at them, and nobody was saying s— back. At the end, Ol’ Dirty Bastard grabbed a bottle of wine and smashed it on the floor of the studio.
Rae’s always been a visionary. I’m gonna quote him, he was like, ‘N—– are stepping to me like I know kung fu and martial arts. That’s not me. This is me, the streets, jewels, money.’ So that was the Wu-Tang chapter. »