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From the moment Raekwon and Ghostface took the stage at the Tabernacle, it was crystal clear the legendary founding Wu-Tang Clan members were amongst friends.

Even with the slew of Southern rappers dominating Atlanta airwaves these days, it was evident that the ATL still has a soft spot for the Wu-Tang Clan.

The Rock the Bells tour at the Tabernacle showed that and more.

Those old enough to remember may even recall the Wu had one of their Wu Wear stores on Peachtree Street in the mid ’90s (above where the Shakespeare Tavern is located). And did I mention that Raekwon lives here now (at the end of the show he brought his son onstage)?

Taking the stage after a triumphant set by fellow New York legends Mobb Deep, accompanied on the ones-and-twos by L.A.’s Alchemist, Rae and Ghost wasted no time in performing the dark chamber music made famous on Rae’s seminal 1995 classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.

The crowd could be seen rapping every word as the Wu members ran through classics like “Incarcerated Scarface,” “Ice Cream,” “Rainy Days,” “Heaven Or Hell” and “Glaciers of Ice.” The Wu’s Cappadonna even showed up and did his still timeless verse from “Winter Warz.”

Wu-Tang Clan’s catalog is so deep that Ghost started taking song requests midway through set, as Rae and Ghost took turns performing cuts from past solo albums. And while hip hop may be segregated into regions these days, Rae showed some hip hop unity by bringing out ATL’s own 2 Chainz, who drew a mixed, but mostly positive reaction, from the crowd.

After 2 Chainz performed his hit “Spend It” he showed his respect for the Wu by chanting WU-TAAAAAANG, much to the crowd’s delight.

Hip hop has changed dramatically since the Wu-Tang Clan first debuted in 1993, but the Rock the Bells tour showed that hip hop’s elder statesman can still hang with the new school.

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