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Posted under: Music

Wu-Tang Clan Makes History As First Hip-Hop Acts To Perform At Famed Nashville Country Music Venue

They performed to a sold-out crowd on June 9.

The Wu-Tang Clan made history Sunday by becoming the first hip-hop artists to perform at Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, according to NPR.

Nicknamed "The Mother Church of Country Music," the venue has hosted the likes of musician Johnny Cash and magician Harry Houdini since its inception in 1892. The New York City-bred group performed to a sold-out crowd during a stop on their international tour commemorating the 25th anniversary of debut album Enter the Wu-Tang. 

Rap artists have been reluctant to perform at the auditorium, which NPR reports is largely due its 2,300-person capacity and bolted down rows of pews.

"It's just not intuitive to have necessarily a hip-hop show at the Ryman," Eric Holt, a Nashville concert promoter said to the news outlet. "It's going to be interesting. I mean, the energy, I think is going to be different."

The music hall's previous general manager asserts space was a main reason why Ryman had an absence of hip-hop artists in the past, even claiming she has extended invitations to musicians of the same genre before.

"I did make an offer on 50 Cent," Pam Matthews told NPR. "And I also feel it's possible I made an offer on Insane Clown Posse."

A city that prides themselves on the bustling country music scene, it appears Nashville residents have slowly adopted to the popularity of hip-hop and music listeners are keen on adding more of the genre to their everyday playlists. 

"The Ryman has had to grow up too, and had to grow up into what the city is," Sharon Sanders, a Grammy-winning artist and member of one of Nashville's first hip-hop acts. "You know, the Wu-Tang is ready for the Ryman, but also the Ryman is ready for the Wu-Tang."

A highly successful tour isn't the only thing the Wu-Tang Clan have in store for fans this year. On May 10, Of Mics and Men, a four-episode long docuseries involving group members reminiscing on their nearly 30-year career over a meal premiered on Showtime. 

"And all of the things that they’ve endured and have lived through, and have overcome, is a truly American story," director Sacha Jenkins said to The Rolling Stone. "And America needs to learn and accept and embrace the ugliness of America, and embrace the beauty that has always come out of black art, and black artists, as a reflection of and a reaction to that ugliness that we’ve had to face. And Wu-Tang epitomizes that on the highest level."

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