Don’t expect any cool graphics to pop up and introduce each prolific character as they appear on screen, as was done in the beginning of Straight Outta Compton. In Wu-Tang: An American Saga, the viewer is largely left on their own to figure all that out. Ashton Sanders, the awkward teenage protagonist from Moonlight, stars as young RZA, Wu-Tang’s de facto leader. Erika Alexander (of Get Out and Living Single fame) is on point as RZA’s mother, Linda Diggs. Rapper Dave East plays a convincing Method Man.
As its animated artwork at the opening credits would have you assume, Wu-Tang: An American Saga is beautifully shot and edited—but it also feels raw and genuine. In addition to all the drugs and guns in the first few episodes, Wu-Tang’s rise was further complicated by the fact that hip-hop wasn’t as widely socially celebrated 30 years ago, even in the Black community.
In 10 episodes (I've seen eight of them), a casual Wu-Tang fan can come away with a greater understanding of the intense familial, social, and drug-dealing business dynamics that were at play right before Wu-Tang became one of the most influential and iconic hip-hop acts of all time, escaping poverty and violence in the process.