Matteo Urella’s Deep In The Dark With The Art is a non-fiction, collaborative work filled with the voices of various creatives who have been inspired by 90s hip-hop group, the Wu-Tang Clan. This work is a celebration of urban music and culture, and the impact that this particular Staten Island-based group has had on generations of artists and hip-hop enthusiasts. With explanations behind iconic pieces of album art coupled with anecdotal stories, this text evokes a heady nostalgia for the rap scene as it was when the Wu-Tang Clan first broke into the mainstream.
Packed with dynamic illustrations and interesting trivia, Deep In The Dark With The Art will likely be a hit with hip-hop and art fans alike. From painstakingly hand-drawn images to digital pieces that were cutting edge at the time, this book explores the potent influence that Wu-Tang’s music had on those enlisted to create their album art. Even for those previously ambivalent towards or unaware of the group, the devotion pouring out of this book towards the Wu-Tang Clan is infectious.
I felt that, at times, the glimpses into the artistic process could be slightly more in-depth. I found this book to be most entertaining when read in individual sections, rather than in long sittings because, while unique and insightful, each segment is not necessarily connected to the one proceeding it. While the book is not written with a narrative structure, it is an enjoyable tabletop read because it is visually and linguistically striking.
Deep In The Dark With The Art makes one thing clear; the Wu-Tang mythos still carries an undeniable power and ability to inspire lifelong loyalty in its fans.
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