Though he was the last to join as an official member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Staten Island rapper Cappadonna was affiliated with the supergroup from their beginning. Starting in 1995, his cameo appearances dotted highlights of the sprawling Wu-related discography and his 1998 solo debut, The Pillage, served as a better-late-than-never entrance point for the rapper's steely East Coast rhyme styles.
Cappadonna was born Darryl Hill in 1969. Raised in the Staten Island borough of New York, Cappadonna was rapping in his early teens and was friends from a young age with future Wu-Tang members. He even made music with future Wu rapper U-God, and was part of an early iteration of what eventually became the Wu-Tang Clan. A prison sentence came in the way of a budding music career, however, and Cappadonna was replaced by Method Man as Wu-Tang began their rise to stardom. Once he was released, Cappadonna reconnected with his friends and made his recording debut with a verse on "Ice Cream," a standout single on Raekwon's 1995 solo debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. The next year he was featured prominently on Ghostface Killah's Ironman and cemented his status as an official member of Wu-Tang Clan with his appearances on their 1997 sophomore effort Wu-Tang Forever. His 1998 solo debut, The Pillage, was another successful Wu-related release, hitting the Top 10 Billboard charts in its first week. A sophomore effort, The Yin and the Yang, followed in early 2001. The largely autobiographical The Struggle was released in September 2003 on the independent Artists & Producers label. Cappadonna continued appearing on Wu-Tang albums and Wu-adjacent projects such as the Ghostface-led Theodore Unit. For a brief time, he stepped away from the Wu-Tang Clan due to a dispute with RZA over royalties. Ultimately, amends were made and he appeared on the group's 2007 album 8 Diagrams. In 2011 he returned with The Pilgrimage, featuring multiple appearances from Inspectah Deck and Killa Black. His 2013 effort, Eyrth, Wynd & Fyre/Love Anger & Emotion, was a double-disc effort on RBC with the second disc introducing his protégés, rappers Lounge Mode and Sav Killz. Throughout the 2010s, Cappadonna stayed busy releasing projects that included 2013's Slang Prostitution, 2014's Hook Off, 2015's The Pillage 2, and 2018's Ear Candy. In 2019 he returned with "No Love Lost," a collaborative single with Joe Young and Hanz On that stuck closely to the classic Wu-Tang production style of hard-hitting drums and cinematic soul samples. ~ Fred Thomas