When it comes to iconic hip hop logos, or just iconic logos in general as a matter of fact, it’s pretty hard to top the Wu-Tang Clan’s one.
The famous W, featured on all the Wu projects, has transcended its Staten Island origins and spread across all entertainment avenues, from music to merchandise, video games to TV shows.
During the filming of the 2019 Showtime documentary, Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men, RZA revealed that during the time he was putting together everything for the Wu, he asked Mathematics, who was a graffiti artist, to design a logo for the crew. “I paid Mathematics $400,” RZA recalled. “And at the time, that was half my rent money.”
In a 2017 with CBC Radio, Mathematics recalled RZA, who was going by Prince Rakeem at the time, approaching him to create the logo.
“He was like, yo, I want to make these stickers that say Wu-Tang for promotion,” Mathematics remembered. “I was like, that’s cool, I was into the karate flicks, he knew I did graffiti back then.”
“That was the first piece of work [for] Wu-Tang that came out, graphically. He was like, instead of doing the whole Wu-Tang, why don’t we just use the W and let’s make a head being taken off or something? I drew the W and it had a hand coming out of it, holding the head, like it was a dude with dreads with blood coming out and it was like, nah, that’s too gory.”
“Later, he was getting ready to print [lead Wu-Tang single] “Protect ya Neck” and he called me up. ‘I need a logo and I need it tomorrow.’ Damn, alright. I was living in 40 Projects [in Jamaica, Queens] at the time, I went to the store and got me a 40-ounce of Olde English 800 — we called it Old Gold — [and] a Philly blunt and rolled up some chocolate Thai, smoked that, set that on the floor and I drew the logo. It just came out. I did graffiti so i had this type of lettering down already, it was basically one of my letterings.”
Aside from creating the Wu logo, Mathematics has also had a notable career as a producer, crafting classic records like Ghostface’s “Mighty Healthy”, Raekwon’s “Mean Streets”, “Stick Me for My Riches” off 8 Diagrams, and plenty more.