kottke.org posts about Wu-Tang Clan

The mystery of the Wu-Tang name generatorJul 29 2014

Hi, everybody! Tim Carmody here, guest-hosting for Jason this week.

You probably know that Donald Glover (actor on Community, writer on 30 Rock) also has a rap career under the stage name Childish Gambino. You may not know that the name "Childish Gambino" comes from a Wu-Tang Name Generator.

That's half of the reason I'm here - I'm dead serious. Like I met RZA and he was like, "you're a cool dude, man - and your name is perfect for you! It's like that computer had a brain!" But yeah, I put my name in a Wu-Tang name generator and it spit out Childish Gambino, and for some reason I just thought that fit.

Now here's where things get a little weird. There are multiple, competing Wu-Tang name generators. (Of course there are.) Most of them seem to work the same way -- they run a script matching your name's characters with a decent-sized database of Wu-sounding words, kind of like a hash. But little differences in the scripts or in the database give you different results.

For instance, at recordstore.com, the "Original Wu Name Generator" (tagline "WE CAN WU YOU!") spits back "Erratic Assassin" (for "Timothy Carmody"), while "Tim Carmody" yields "Well-Liked Assman." These names are both awesome.

But the "Wu-Tang Name Generator" at mess.be ("Become a real Wu warrior, entah ur full name 'n smack da ol' dirty button"), which proprietor Pieter Dom says was made in 2002, is totally different. There, "Timothy Carmody" and "Tim Carmody" return "Shriekin' Wizard" and "Gentlemen Overlord," respectively. Now, while these definitely sound like Wu names, they are definitely The W to the other site's Enter the 36 Chambers.

Here's the weird part: both of these Wu-Tang name generators return the same name for "Donald Glover." It is, of course, "Childish Gambino."

Is it just a quirk that whatever difference crept in affects most names, but not Donald Glover's? Did one of the sites hard-code that result in, to boost its credibility with people who heard the Childish Gambino story? Or is Donald Glover somehow necessarily Childish Gambino, across all possible Wu-accessible worlds, in the same way that "Clifford Smith" is always and only "Method Man," even when he pretends to be an actor?

I don't think we can ever know. But just as Russell Jones was Ol' Dirty Bastard, ODB, Dirt McGirt, Big Baby Jesus, and Ason Unique as well as Osirus, I am content to be known by many names under the Wu.

(Dedicated to "Sarkastik Beggar" and "Lesbian Pimp." Via @hoverbird.)

Update: The TLDR podcast did a follow-up to this story: The Mystery of Childish Gambino.

Ol' Dirty Bastard's FBI fileDec 14 2012

Earlier in the year, Rich Jones at Gun.io filed a Freedom of Information request for Ol' Dirty Bastard's FBI file. It appears Wu-Tang may not actually be for the children. Here are the parts Jones noted.

"The WTC is heavily involved in the sale of drugs, illegal guns, weapons possession, murder, carjacking and other types of violent crime." [p5]

Connections to the murder of Robert "Pooh" Johnson and Jerome "Boo Boo" Estrella. [p6]

Connection to murder of Ishamael "Hoody" Kourma. [p13]

A shoot-out with the NYPD. [p15]

Arrest for felony possession of body armour. [p16]

Connections to the Bloods Gang. [p17]

Found in possession of large bags full of paper currency. [p40]

Details of his being robbed and shot while staying in the Kingston projects. [p45]

But also, Wu-Tang Flan, creator unknown.

wu-tang-flan.jpg

Michael K Williams to star as Ol' Dirty Bastard in ODB movieMar 22 2012

OK, Internet, shut it down. We've had enough for the day. I recognize this news will be relevant and interesting to only a small percent of the Kottke population, but to those people, it is extremely and earthshatteringly relevant. Personally, my ears started ringing while reading the headline. Michael K Williams, best known for his role as Omar on The Wire, will play Ol' Dirty Bastard in an upcoming movie.

Titled Dirty White Boy, the film focuses on the offbeat friendship between the Wu-Tang Clan co-founder and Jarred Weisfeld, a 22-year-old VH1 production assistant who through a lot of hustle (and the occasional lie) talked his way into becoming the rapper's manager when Jones was serving a three-year stint in prison in the early 2000s.

(via @mikenizza)

Tags related to Wu-Tang Clan:
Ol' Dirty Bastard music

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