Wu-Tang Clan mentor Popa Wu has died aged 63, prompting a flurry of tributes from members of the legendary hip-hop collective and beyond.
Popa Wu’s cause of death is currently unknown, with the news only being confirmed by representatives of Wu-Tang Clan to Rolling Stone late last night (December 16).
The older cousin of Wu-Tang’s RZA and a relative of Ol’ Dirty Bastard and GZA, Popa Wu, (AKA Freedum Allah) was crucial to the group’s formation and acted as a mentor and spiritual adviser throughout their career.
A number of Wu-Tang members have paid tribute to their former mentor. “REST IN PARADISE MY BROTHER @popawu7 FOREVER TELL DIRT WE LOVE AND MISS HIM,” said Ghostface Killah on Instagram.
RIP to the one and only PAPA WU our sincerest condolences go out to the entire family ?????????????? #wutang #wutangclan Ghostface Killah feat. Raekwon & U-God & Popa Wu – Black Jesus https://t.co/QDJA1UQrQz via @YouTube
— U-GOD / WU-TANG (@Ugodofwutang) December 16, 2019
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The Father And Teacher Love You Elder My uncle and brother I Barsun Unique will pass Your Message Along Throughout The Universe #PopaWu breaking down the definition of a Chamber. Take notes. #36Chambers ??? …………………………………………………… #WuTangClan #WuWednesday #classic #hiphop #footage #wutang #WhatChamberAreYouIn? #AlwaysCompleteTheChamber
Musicians and artists from outside the Wu-Tang Clan also expressed their condolences, including Pete Rock and DJ Premier
Papa Wu ?? Damn say it aint so man Wow ? ? ? the angels got you ???smh ??♂️ https://t.co/0B9FwPEcA2
— PETEROCK.COM (@PeteRock) December 16, 2019
R.I.P. ETERNALLY TO THE GOD PAPA WU ????
— DJ Premier (@REALDJPREMIER) December 16, 2019
Popa Wu appeared on a number of Wu-Tang tracks, often preaching the beliefs of the religious movement The Five-Percent Order to which he belonged.
His music credits include ‘Wu-Revolution’, the first track on 1997’s ‘Wu-Tang Forever’, Ghostface Killah’s ‘Black Jesus’ and Raekwon’s ‘North Star’ among others.
He also released his own music in the form of 2000 compilation ‘Visions of the 10th Chamber’, and its 2008 follow-up, ‘Visions of the 10th Chamber Part II’.