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Tigerstyle. In the musty half-finished basement of Wren’s mock-colonial Connecticut house the Sony boombox leaped and crashed with fuzzy bass. Our sweaty hands grasped the black-winged Sega Genesis controllers. We had the cobra claws and talked shit between tracks: all rasp and spit and wit and wick from the flame which had no quit. Between recklessly competitive quarters of Madden 96’ Wren would flip the tape to the other side, or swap it for another, but The Wu was foremost in our rotation. Wu-Tang is for the children, said Ole Dirty Bastard at the Grammys, a couple years later, and he was right. Tigerstyle, growled the MC between finger snap bookends. And then began the chant: Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta Fuck Wit’—song like a broadcast from Mars, Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta Fuck Wit’—the layers of it like a secret message gathered from another world, Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta Fuck Wit’—ecstatic doom. We were its parishioners. We were thirteen. We were subterranean boys attuned to such angry sledge-glimmers of delight. From the church of plenty, we chanted: Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang, and collapsed in fits, wrestling an arm, a shoulder, into an unnatural fit until the pain became too much and one of us would tap, and quit. Boom! crooned John Madden. This—his commentary to another 8-bit body crumpling and falling to the soft, green, pixelated field on the heavy glass TV screen. The ambulance ran over half the offensive line to cart the injured running back off the field. We laughed at the carnage. Tigerstyle—we growled, foul. We were lucky and wouldn’t be fucked with: the slums of Shaolin to the suburbs of Connecticut, Enter the 36 Chambers on repeat. I don’t know where the tape came from, but it was treated as a sacred document, much loved and (this is rare) even the skits on it were amazing, and much repeated. We drained bottles from the liquor cabinet and refilled them with nonsense. On the morning of New Year’s Day we got caught drinking beers because late the night before Wren had hidden our empties out in the woods. It snowed on New Year’s Eve and a flawless set of tracks led out to where the evidence was dumped: shiny green Hefty bag gleaming in a forest coated with fresh snow. In the new year a second set of footprints led back to the house’s basement door. When I can’t think of a song to sing to my son, 8 days old, I begin to chant: Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang.